A Kingman Police Officer who shot a transient approaching him with what was later determined to be a pellet gun is returning to duty.
The Mohave County Attorney's Office has ruled that Officer Evan Hopper's shooting of John Yard Oct. 27 was justified. Yard approached Hopper as Hopper was completing an arrest on an outstanding warrant during a traffic stop in the auto service department parking lot of Walmart around 7:30 p.m.
Yard pulled out a pellet gun and approached Hopper in what Lake Havasu Sgt. Joe Harrold described as a threatening manner. The Lake Havasu Police Department served as the independent agency that investigated the shooting.
Hopper fired twice after Yard ignored two orders to drop the gun, witnesses told police. Yard was struck once in the torso. He was hospitalized but is expected to make a full recovery, according to Harrold.
Havasu authorities forwarded the case to the County Attorney's Office for review. Chief Deputy Attorney Jace Zack said the shooting was clearly justified.
"It is apparent John Yard was attempting suicide by cop," Zack said. "Officer Hopper's response was reasonable, lawful and justified."
Hopper was put on administrative leave following the incident, which is standard procedure. He is now cleared to return to full duty.
Charges against Yard are pending.