A review of a deadly December 2011 shooting involving a Spring Valley police officer has concluded the officer was justified in using his gun to defend himself against a Spring Valley man who had taken the officer's nightstick and was attacking him with it, said today.
A Rockland County grand jury that reviewed the incident that led to the death of Herve Gilles, 48, and found no reasonable cause to vote an indictment. The grand jury began hearing testimony on April 18 and its review has been completed, Zugibe said.
“I wish to thank the 23 citizens of Rockland County who comprised the Grand Jury for their service, for the time and effort they devoted to this investigation and for the careful manner in which they discharged their solemn duty,” Zugibe said. “Each member met this challenge with dedication, skill and respect, while keeping foremost in their minds, their responsibility to the oaths they had taken.”
Here’s an overview of the evidence uncovered in the investigation of the shooting of Gilles by Police Officer John Roper:
- On Dec. 14, 2011, at about 3:22 a.m., Herve Gilles was fatally shot by Police Officer John Roper of the Village of Spring Valley Police Department in the parking lot located on the corner of E. Furman Place and Franklin Street, Spring Valley.
- At the time, Roper was responding to a call of Herve Gilles throwing rocks near El Buen Gusto Bar and Restaurant located at 11 E. Furman Place, Spring Valley.
- Gilles attacked and assaulted Roper after taking Roper’s nightstick and striking Roper with the nightstick with such force that Roper was in extreme pain and caused momentary numbness and impairment of Roper’s arm.
- Roper knew that if Gilles’ blow struck him in the head, it would have been sufficiently powerful to kill him or in the very least to render him unconscious and defenseless.
- Roper was in fear for his life.
- As Gilles raised the nightstick again to strike Roper, Roper drew his service weapon and fired a shot, which struck Gilles in the neck, in an attempt to stop Gilles from continuing his assault, to no avail.
- Gilles continued to strike at Roper with the nightstick.
- Roper fired again, striking Gilles in the head, fatally wounding him.
- Gilles was pronounced dead at 3:42 a.m.