Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams announced Wednesday that the Lancaster police officer who fatally shot Ricardo Muñoz on Sept. 13 will not be charged.
“Based on my review of the facts and the applicable law, there is no question – no question – that the officer was justified in the use of deadly force on Ricardo Muñoz on Sept. 13,” Adams said, according to Lancaster Online.
The unidentified officer “had no time or opportunity to do anything but run for his life and only resorted to lethal force when he confirmed an imminent threat to his life remained,” Adams continued, per the report. “The officer’s belief that lethal force was necessary to defend himself was reasonable and therefore, the use of force was justified under the law.”
The District Attorney’s office showed the officer’s body camera footage as part of evidence, noting “a mere four seconds” passed from the time Muñoz appeared in the doorway of his mother’s home to when the officer began shooting. Within the four seconds, Muñoz came out of the house with a knife.
The officer responded to a 911 call in which a woman said her brother was acting aggressively toward her mother and trying to break into her home. (RELATED: Lancaster Peaceful After Night Of Unrest Following Officer-Related Shooting)
“Her son is being very aggressive and he needs help,” the caller said, according to CNN. “He has mental problems.”
However, body cam footage shows Muñoz chasing the officer with a knife before he’s shot and killed.
Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace said in a statement the Lancaster Bureau of Police will continue to conduct an internal investigation about whether any procedural policies were violated.
“I want to be clear that based on the DA’s investigation, this all transpired in four seconds and there was not an opportunity to de-escalate,” she added.
Muñoz’ family criticized the decision.
“We called for help. We didn’t call for bullets,” Muñoz’ sister said, per Lancaster Online.
“We are disappointed with the investigation and the conclusions the district attorney reached regarding Ricardo Muñoz’s death,” Steven M. Levin, an attorney for the family said, per the report.