Prosecutor Says Springfield Officer Justified in Shooting of Suspect, Will Not be Charged
The Greene County prosecutor says a Springfield Police officer was justified in shooting an unarmed suspect earlier this year, which resulted in the man’s death.
Michael Ireland was killed on Feb. 17 after being shot once in the chest by Office Andrew Bath. The shooting followed a chase that began near the 1900 block of West Division in reference to a check suspicious activity call.
Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson issued his conclusion in a letter to Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams on Friday. In part, it stated that Officer Bath’s action was a “justified use of deadly force in self-defense and not a criminal act.”
The letter details Bath’s pursuit of Ireland and ultimately where the chase concluded, when the two were within a few feet of one another on opposite sides of a chain link gate. It was at this point where the officer tased the suspect on two occasions as Ireland reached for his waistband. Bath then drew his weapon, according to the letter, and told Ireland, “Stop or I am going to shoot.” When Ireland did not stop and continued reaching toward his waistband, Bath fired one round, striking him in the chest.
“Officer Bath stated that he fired his duty weapon because he feared Ireland was going to pull out a gun or other weapon and kill or seriously injure him,” the letter stated.
It went on to read that Bath’s account of the chase was corroborated by the physical evidence at the scene, as well as dash camera footage and photographs of the scene.
Bath, who joined Springfield Police in 2012, is no longer with the department. He was said to have put in his resignation prior to the February shooting.