DA clears Philly officers in deadly shooting

October 15, 2008 4:07:17 PM PDT
The Philadelphia district attorney has cleared police of wrongdoing in the shooting death of 20-year-old Bryan Jones. Jones was shot to death by Philadelphia police during a gunfight between officers and more than a dozen occupants of two houses in the 1700 block of North 59th shortly after midnight on January 1, 2007.

On Tuesday District Attorney Lynne Abraham, capping a 2-year probe, claimed the 20 year old Jones was a leader of a group of hoodlums who terrorized Overbrook Park.

Abraham says when Jones was shot in the head he was unarmed, but the D.A. says gunpowder was found in his waistband showing he had tucked a recently fired gun there.

Police say he was known to carry a .38 caliber revolver.

In all 9 guns were recovered at the crime scene that night.

"Mr. Jones, we believe, came to that house with guns for the purpose of shooting up and having a little fun at everybody's expense in the neighborhood. Mr. Jones was not an innocent bystander," said Abraham.

No officers were wounded in this incident even though gunmen fired more than 200 rounds.

The shooting of Jones in a rear alleyway was justified, the D.A. says, because the officer feared for his life.

The lawyer for Brian Jones' family, Bruce Ginsberg, has a completely differenct interpretation of the fatal event. Jones, he says, was innocent of any wrongdoing on that night. He calls Jones a victim of excessive use of force by police.

"It is clear Mr. Jones was running away, not towards anybody, had no gun, so what's the excuse of shooting him?" Ginsberg said.

"Bryan didn't own a gun, didn't carry a gun, he was not with the crowd that was shooting the guns," said Brian Jones' mother Gloria. "He was only out there for one purpose, and that was to pick up my grandson and get him in before 12:00."

Brian Jones' family has filed a civil suit in federal court claiming his rights were violated when he was killed by police.

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