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Update: Deputies cleared in shooting

Friday, August 24, 2018

Hays County deputies have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the November 2017 shooting of a Wimberley man who had tried to lure them into an ambush.

Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau’s office said on Friday that the evidence “conclusively establishes that the shooting of Rocky West by HCSO deputies was justified as both self  defense and defense of other officers.” The case went before a grand jury Aug. 15.

Deputies including Adam McLeod, Brian Bedingfield, and Banjamin Gieselman responded after someone who turned out to be West called 911 early on Nov. 24, 2017 to report a “suspicious person” armed with a gun inside a Wimberley antique store. The caller hung up and wouldn’t answer attempts to call back.

After the deputies got to the scene they learned the 911 caller was identified as West, someone known to the HCSO and who lived nearby. They approached “with caution,” Mau’s office said the news release. As they approached the residence at 500 Spoke Hollow, West, who had been hiding behind a rock wall, fired six shotgun blasts, one of which shattered the passenger window of Sgt. Jon Craigmile’s vehicle, spraying his face with shattered glass.

Other deputies exited their vehicle to return fire in a exchange that went on for 30 seconds. Deputy Banjamin Gieselman was hit and received non-life threatening injuries from pellets that penetrated his upper legs, torso and arms.

“West fired without warning, from darkness and concealment behind the stone wall. Investigators recovered at least 11 fired shotgun shells from behind the rock wall,” the news release said. West was later found dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

All of the officers who employed deadly force in this case did so justifiably under the law and reasonably with respect to the circumstances,” the release said. “Moreover, rather than flee in the face of a deadly threat, the officers performed their duty and risked their own lives to deal with the threat before additional harm could come to other officers or citizens.”