Investigation finds Boone officers actions 'justified' in shooting death

Michael Disbrowe had an airsoft gun, but it looked like a 9 mm pistol

By Jacob Peklo |

Published 07/25 2016 05:31PM

Updated 07/25 2016 05:31PM

BOONE - A decision announced Monday vindicates two Boone police officers involved in a deadly shooting a month ago.

The suspect was waving and pointing what seemed to be a gun at them, but it was actually an airsoft gun.

After four weeks of investigations, county attorneys found that two Boone Police Officers were justified in the death of a man at a mobile home park. The police chief says his men acted appropriately, especially given the circumstances."

"Certainly they showed great restraint,” said Boone Police Chief William Skare. “They acted like they were trained and did a very good job in a very unfortunate situation. Obviously, these are situations we never want to see happen."

But on the night of the incident, investigators explained it was a very tense situation.

DCI Investigator Michael Motsinger showed that during the encounter, they tried multiple times to get Michael Disbrowe to drop his gun, but instead he switches the hand he's holding it in.

The incident occurred after 10 p.m., and you can see in the photograph on this page that it's hard to distinguish between Disbrowe's airsoft gun and a 9 mm pistol.

"The officers basically felt their life was in danger, reacted to that life-threatening situation and fired on Mr. Disbrowe,” said Motsinger. “Mr. Disbrowe decided to for whatever reason raise the gun, punch it out toward the officer and started advancing on the officers, before the officers had to fire their weapons.”

And while the officers were justified, investigators say as long as manufacturers make guns look like this, it'll make police officers' jobs that much more difficult."

"With guns being like this, the officers are hesitating and it could cost more people their life,” said Motsinger.

The investigation is now complete. Those two officers went back on the job one week ago. They had been on paid administrative leave since the incident. The amount of dash-cam video was not released in its entirety because of legal advice from the county attorney’s office. 

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