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DA rules 2019 Rancho Mirage deadly deputy-involved shooting as ‘justified’

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office has ruled a 2019 deadly deputy-involved shooting in Rancho Mirage as "justified."

The District Attorney has cleared the deputies involved in the July 9, 2019 shooting of criminal liability.

Cellphone video from a witness showed deputies following a man, identified as 36-year-old Jason Harris, who was armed with a knife as he walked down Bob Hope Drive in front of the Agua Caliente Casino.

Deputy Robyn Flores, then-public information officer for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, said Harris was wielding a knife and waving it in the air.

Flores said Harris was not complying with the deputies' commands and was initially tased. When that didn’t work, deputies repeatedly ordered the man to drop the knife, but he did not comply, leading to the deputy-involved shooting.

“They shot him in the chest,” said Steven Good, who witnessed the shooting. “He dropped the knife, he fell down. They jumped on him and handcuffed him right away.”

The day after the shooting, Sheriff Chad Bianco expressed support for his officers, and their decision-making during the incident.

“The deputies responded and reacted to a perceived threat and unfortunately it ended the way it did,” Bianco said.

The man was pronounced dead in the hospital. The deputy-involved returned to work a few weeks later.

News Channel 3 is continuing to work to get body-worn camera video of the shooting which has not yet been released.

News Channel 3 is also working to obtain the "final determination letter" which will have more information about the case and how the decision was reached.

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Jesus Reyes

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