EPHRATA - Grant County Prosecutor Angus Lee said Moses Lake police sergeant Brian Jones would not be charged with the shooting of a suspected methamphetamine dealer in a grocery store parking lot last month.
Jones shot Roberto Escamilla Mendoza, 36, on Sept. 5 as he backed into a police car while attempting to flee the parking lot during an arrest, according to court documents. Jones fired two shots into Escamilla Mendoza's driver's side window striking him at least once. Jones said he shot Escamilla Mendoza to prevent him from running over a fellow police officer.
Escamilla Mendoza was flown to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center and underwent numerous surgeries, but is no longer at that hospital. He survived the shooting.
After interviewing the officers at the scene and following an investigation with officers not involved in the case, Lee decided not to charge Jones. Lee said Jones acted within state law when he shot Escamilla Mendoza to prevent another officer from being struck by the fleeing car.
Based on the officers' testimony at the scene it appeared Escamilla Mendoza was trying to intentionally run over an officer, not just flee.
Lee said Jones stopped shooting after realizing Escamilla Mendoza no longer presented a threat to officers.
When officers searched Escamilla Mendoza's house later, they found 5.7 pounds of meth, $4,600 in cash and eight fraudulent identification cards, according to court documents.