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Chief: Shooting of patrol car thief justified

By Associated Press
Published On: Jan 16 2013 07:42:21 AM MST
robbery
BILLINGS, Mont. -

The chief of the Billings Police Department says an officer was justified in shooting a burglary suspect who was killed as he attempted to steal a patrol car following a standoff.
    
Chief Rich St. John said Tuesday the officer feared for his life after 29-year-old Daniel Brawley slipped out of his plastic handcuffs, climbed into the front seat of a patrol car and knocked the officer to the ground as he sped away.
    
Officer Dave Punt fired nine times through the side and rear of the vehicle, hitting Brawley once in the torso.
    
A coroner's jury will have final say on whether Punt's actions were justified.
    
The cause of death remains pending, and it's unclear if Brawley died Jan. 6 from the gunshot or when he crashed the patrol car.