Car wash police shooting ruled justified

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A decision late Friday afternoon from the Yakima County prosecutor's office clears a Yakima police officer of wrongdoing in a deadly shooting.

Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty says last month's shooting at a car wash on Nob Hill Boulevard was justified.

Officer Casey Gillette shot and killed Rocendo Arias in his parked car. A news release from Hagarty concludes Gillette responded to a perceived threat when Arias pointed what appeared to be a handgun at him and that his response was reasonable in that situation.

The gun turned out to be an Airsoft pellet gun, but the prosecutor says the shooting was justified because of the perceived threat at the time.

The officer has returned to duty.

Action News contacted the attorney for the Arias family and received a statement. It indicates in part that the family will be pursuing wrongful death and civil rights violations against the Yakima Police Department and Officer Gillette.

"The family is not surprised nor are they deterred by the prosecuting attorney's release as they are committed to seeking justice for Rocendo," said attorney Bill Pickett in the statement.