BILLINGS, Mont. – Intense video captured the emotional moments after a Montana police officer shot and killed a unarmed man who was high on methamphetamine during a traffic stop in April.
Officer Grant Morrison’s dash-cam recorded the shooting, along with his reaction a few minutes after the incident.
"I thought he was going to pull a gun on me,” Morrison sobbed as his fellow officers try to console him.
A jury has ruled last week that Morrison was justified when he shot and killed Richard Ramirez, a suspect in an armed robbery and shooting, according to a report from KULR.
During the coroner's inquest, jurors examined video of the moment Morrison pulled the car over to when he fired the fatal shot. Officers said Ramirez failed to comply with Morrison's commands to keep his hands up.
Ramirez's family, who believed he was the victim of racial profiling, was pushing for criminal charges.
The coroner's jury took about one hour to come to the decision after hearing from the last witnesses.
Mike McCarthy, an instructor with the Montana Law Enforcement Academy, testified that officers get cues from people by looking at their hands. McCarthy also reviewed the dash camera video -- and talked about what alarmed him about the actions of Ramirez in the car.
McCarthy said Ramirez could have looked like he was trying to pull out a gun.
"I believe wholeheartedly that any, any officer knowing and feeling what Officer Morrison knew would probably do the same thing. It's just not a good situation," McCarthy said.
Additionally, Morrison took the stand and walked the jury through what happened that night.
Morrison said he noticed the red Ford Taurus driving suspiciously and then noticed an equipment violation as he followed the car. The driver stopped the car himself, and Morrison said he noticed the right rear passenger was behaving suspiciously and trying to open the door, so he approached that side of the car first.
Morrison said Ramirez initially put his hands up, but then his left hand went into an up and down motion as if he was trying to grab something.
Based on the information Morrison had about Ramirez being a suspect in the armed robbery, Morrison believed he had a gun.
Morrison told the jury he wished he had other choices in that situation.
"It's the hardest decision I've ever had to make,” Morrison said. “I wish I didn't have to make it... but I couldn't take the risk. I couldn't take the risk of him having a gun. I wanted to go home to my family and I wanted to see my son grow up."."
Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, who testified about the department's use of force policy, said it was a tragic event and that now is time to for both sides to heal.
"It's obviously a very traumatic time throughout this whole session -- a very long time before the inquest took place and then of course it's going to be very, very difficult to testify, so I'm sure he's relieved that this is over,” St. John said.
Morrison was cleared in another chase when he also shot and killed another man in 2013, according to the Associated Press.