NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors have determined that police were justified in killing a man who ambushed and shot a police officer and civilian taking part in a ride-along program last year in Newport News.
The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office cleared the officers involved of any criminal wrongdoing in the incident, the Daily Press reported Thursday. Prosecutors said 34-year-old Jerome Michael Uzzle “posed an imminent threat of serious physical harm to members of the public as well as to officers” when an officer fatally shot him.
Uzzle was being sought Aug. 17, 2019, in the killing of his wife, who was found that day shot multiple times at a gas station. Police went to the couple’s home and had set up a perimeter when Uzzle suddenly walked up behind them, the newspaper reported.
A memorandum from the prosecutor’s office said Uzzle approached one police vehicle and began firing multiple rounds, striking an officer and a woman with him for a ride-along. Both “sustained serious injuries.”
Another officer saw the shooting and opened fire on Uzzle, who died later at a hospital.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew called both police officers “heroes” shortly after the incident, saying that “their actions saved lives.”