(FOX 11) - A Paradise, California police officer who investigators said accidentally shot a DUI suspect in the neck last month following a pursuit will not face criminal charges, prosecutors announced Thursday.
The dash cam footage was shown in court when Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said no charges would be filed against Officer Patrick Feaster, a five-year veteran of the department.
Warning: the video featured below is extremely graphic.
Feaster was parked on early Thanksgiving morning when he saw a Toyota 4Runner speeding out of a bar parking lot without its headlights on, Action News Now reports.
Feaster followed in his patrol car as the Toyota, driven by Andrew Nicholas Thomas, 26, ran a red light and turned before striking the median and overturning.
Thomas' 23-year-old wife Darien Ehorn was ejected from the vehicle and killed in the crash, local news outlets report.
The video shows Thomas climbing through a window to escape from the overturned vehicle. Investigators said Feaster drew his .45 caliber semi-automatic gun when Thomas "popped" out of the car, believing he would flee.
The video shows the officer move towards Thomas and the gun discharges, hitting Thomas in the neck before slumping back into the vehicle.
The shot struck Thomas in the neck and could lead to him to be paralyzed for life, reports Action News Now.
Ramsey said Feaster did not immediately mention anything about having fired his weapon when backup arrived on scene, Action News Now reports:
"According to Ramsey, Feaster notified his commanding officer about the discharge only after Thomas’ gunshot wound was found.
As the commanding officer suggested an investigator return to Canteena and try to find out if Thomas had been shot at the bar, Feaster revealed that he may have shot Thomas.
Ramsey said nearly 11 minutes passed before any other officers, medics or firefighters learned Thomas had been shot."
Ramsey said the evidence in the case shows the shooting to be accidental, and possibly negligent, but not criminally so.
"This shooting is not justified, but also not criminal."
The officer's "reaction on the dash cam video and his statements to protocol investigators confirm an honest belief that he did not intentionally fire his pistol," Ramsey said in a press release.
Feaster remains on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Thomas, who had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15, remained hospitalized and was expected to face charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.