Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison says a city police officer acted in self defense and within his authority when he fired at a suspect in late December. Harrison’s determination follows a State Police investigation. Officer Michael Iazzi fired at Malik Andrews after answering a violent trespasser call on the 700-block of Northwood Street. Harrison says Iazzi did so only after Andrews raised a gun in the officer’s direction.
From Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison: The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office for the City of Lynchburg is tasked with the determination of whether the use of deadly force by Lynchburg Officer Michael Iazzi on December 30, 2018 merited criminal charges. The purpose of this investigation is not to determine the appropriateness of any police policy, procedure, or tactic but solely for the purpose of determining if a criminal act was committed in the officer involved shooting at 702 Norwood Street. In making our determination, this office reviewed the reports provided by the Virginia State Police who were charged with investigating the matter. The Virginia State Police’s reports included: a summary of the investigation by Special Agent James Buzzard, crime scene reports, crime scene photographs, interviews with civilian witnesses, interviews with Officer Iazzi and other Lynchburg Police Department officers, the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) sheets from the calls for service, and physical evidence. After reviewing all of this information, it is clear that Officer Iazzi acted in self-defense and in defense of others when he discharged his firearm. Based upon the law and the evidence in this matter, it is my opinion that the officer was within his legal authority and was justified in the use of deadly force in this situation as it presented itself to him. Therefore, no criminal charges will be brought against Officer Iazzi out of these events.