Hotel shooting deemed justifiable

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2006

A Butler County grand jury deemed that the killing of a Louisiana man, who shot two Greenville police officers on Jan. 14 in an exchange of gunfire inside a Greenville motel, was justifiable, according to court records and district attorney John Andrews.

The grand jury, which met on March 13, found no evidence that there was any criminal activity by the officers, who shot and killed Wayne A. Vasquez, 50, of St. Bernard, La.

Greenville officers Lionel Davidson and John Bass were injured in the incident that night inside Room 115 of the Comfort Inn, according to police reports.

Police received a call at 7:42 p.m. Jan. 14 in reference to a man walking in the first-floor hallway of the hotel brandishing a firearm.

When officers Byron Russell, Davidson and Bass arrived, they used a passkey to open Vasquez' hotel room door. When the officers attempted to enter, Vasquez opened fire, according to the police report.

During the exchange of gunfire, Davidson was struck in the right arm and left hand, while Bass suffered a gunshot wound in the right arm.

Vasquez exited his room and attempted to fire again. Russell returned fire, the report said.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Tina Coker said that the ballistics report returned by the state forensic sciences laboratory in Montgomery indicated that Vasquez suffered three entrance wounds to the torso and chest area.

Coker said three bullet &#8220pieces” were found in Vasquez from Russell's and Bass' firearms.

Little was known about Vasquez, according to Lt. Randy Courtney. He said that Vasquez' criminal record was &#8220minor.”

Bass has returned to regular duty, while Davidson remains on light duty, according to Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram.

Andrews said that the toxicology report to determine if Vasquez was on drugs or was intoxicated at the time of the shooting had not been returned from the forensics sciences lab.