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4 Topeka officers cleared in Dec. 13 shooting

Associated Press - January 3, 2015 1:10 pm

A north-central Kansas man faces more than 16 years in prison for a vehicle crash that killed a teenager and her father.

Four Topeka police officers have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the deadly shooting of a suspect.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said Friday that the officers acted in self-defense on Dec. 13 when they fatally shot 19-year-old Joseph Michael Rodriguez of Topeka.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Rodriguez was armed with a handgun and a knife after an attempted carjacking that left a woman with knife wounds to her face. Witnesses said Rodriguez stood in a street and began pointing the gun at bystanders and police. One witness said Rodriguez began screaming at police, urging them to shoot him.

Officers initially fired twice, wounding Rodriguez. Police and witnesses said officers fired the fatal shots when Rodriguez refused orders to drop his weapon and again pointed his pistol.