A pair of Wisconsin police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of an armed carjacking suspect last month. Watch the dash cam footage of the incident above.
It all started just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 13 when 54-year-old Roger Burzinski allegedly walked up and pulled a handgun on a woman sitting in her Chevy Trailblazer at Houska Park in La Crosse, Wis. The woman managed to grab her 3-year-old daughter before getting out, but her 1-year-old infant remained in the vehicle when Burzinski got in and sped off.
The woman immediately called 911 and reported the carjacking, as well as the fact that her child was still in the car.
Shortly after that, Officer Stephen Hughes of the La Crosse Police Department spotted the vehicle and tried to get it to pull over, but Burzinski refused, instead leading Hughes on a short chase that ended when he drove through a construction area and crashed into a parked car.
In the dash cam footage, Hughes can be seen approaching the car on the driver’s side and using his baton to smash the front and rear driver’s side windows. He also orders Burzinski to get out of the car, but the carjacker tries to escape by jerking the car forward. Another unidentified officer then busts in the front passenger side window and then retreats.
Right then, Officer Andrew Adey drives up from the front, gets out of his patrol vehicle, approaches from the front and arrives at the passenger side of the stolen car. From either side of the car and with their guns draw, both he and Hughes command Burzinski to get out of the car.
That’s when, according to the DA report, the officers saw Burzinski lean toward the center console, sit up straight and then point a gun at Hughes. Hughes fired twice, while Adey fired three times. Burzinski was shot four times in the torso.
The officers removed Burzinski from the Chevy Trailblazer and rendered first aid. He was then taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Thankfully, neither the infant nor the officers were injured.
The gun Burzinski produced turned out to be a BB gun.
An investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice determined that both officers were justified in their actions.
“It was reasonable for both Officer Hughes and Adey to believe the suspect had the intent and the means to inflict death or great bodily harm to an officer, a member of the public, or the child in the stolen vehicle,” said La Crosse County DA Tim Gruenke.
Burzinski had an extensive criminal history, including doing 11 years in prison for armed robbery, fleeing from police and felony drunken driving. He was released last September, but in March, the Department of Corrections put out a notice to have him arrested after he fled from extended supervision and didn’t comply with the state’s sex offender registry.