COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A prosecutor in South Carolina said the investigation into the shooting death of a black teenager by a white Columbia police officer this spring is complete and he is reviewing to see if any charges will be filed.
The shooting of Joshua Ruffin, 17, has been part of several days of protests at the South Carolina Statehouse which erupted after the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving.
Solicitor Byron Gipson said in a statement Wednesday that he will share his thoughts and evidence with the public after he reviews and decides what to do about Ruffin’s death.
Ruffin was killed April 8 by a Columbia police officer patrolling in an area near where cars had been recently broken into, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said the next day.
When the officer got out of his car to question Ruffin, the teen started to run away and during the 20-second chase, pulled out a gun, Holbrook said.
The officer fired at Ruffin, hitting him once and killing him, the chief said. The coroner found Ruffin was shot in the chest, and Holbrook said that indicated to him the teen was facing the officer when he was shot instead of being wounded in the back while running away.
A gun and a woman’s purse with cash inside was found beside the teen, Holbrook said.
The chief has not released the officer’s name, but said he has worked for the force more than four years and hasn’t been involved in any other shootings.
Holbrook promised to release body camera footage of the shooting after the investigation is finished.