Local News

Durham officer cleared in suspect's shooting

Posted June 13, 2008 1:48 p.m. EDT

— A Durham police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting death of a suspect in a December burglary.

Officer Jesus Sandoval Jr. was responding to a break-in call in the 500 block of Holloway Street on Dec. 29 when he confronted an armed man coming out of a house, police said.

The man dropped the gun when ordered to do so, but two men in a Ford Taurus parked behind the house drove at Sandoval and another officer, police said. One of the officers suffered minor injuries when the car hit him in the leg.

Sandoval fired shots at the vehicle as he jumped out of the way, hitting the driver, Raul Aldana Rivadeneyra, police said. The car continued down Holloway Street, striking an SUV near Mangum Street, flipping over and colliding with another car before coming to a stop.

Rivadeneyra was pronounced dead at the scene, and authorities said a gunshot wound was the cause of death.

The State Bureau of Investigation reviewed the incident, and Durham County District Attorney David Saacks issued a statement Thursday clearing Sandoval. He said Rivadeneyra's decision to drive toward the officers created "a legitimate deadly threat" that justified the officer's decision to shoot and kill him.