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Spring Valley Shooting

Spring Valley Shooting

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Published by James King

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Published by: James King on May 08, 2012
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01/27/2013

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OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY • ROCKLAND COUNTYThomas P. Zugibe, District Attorneywww.RocklandCountyDA.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2012Contact: Xiomara Lopez (845) 638-5013
 
STATEMENT BY ROCKLAND COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYTHOMAS P. ZUGIBE REGARDING AN OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGIN THE VILLAGE OF SPRING VALLEY ON DECEMBER 14, 2011
Following a thorough and complete review of the evidence in the investigation into the death of Herve Gilles, theGrand Jury, which began hearing testimony on April 18, 2012, has concluded its investigation. Although GrandJury proceedings by law are secret, the investigation into the death of Herve Gilles, conducted and developedoutside the Grand Jury process, is not bound by any such rule of secrecy. The following is a synopsis of theevidence uncovered by the investigation:On December 14, 2011 at approximately 3:22 a.m., Herve Gilles (DOB 04/09/63) was fatally shot by PoliceOfficer John Roper (hereinafter, “P.O. Roper”) of the Village of Spring Valley Police Department in the parkinglot located on the corner of E. Furman Place and Franklin Street, Spring Valley, New York. At the time, P.O.Roper was responding to a call of Herve Gilles throwing rocks near El Buen Gusto Bar and Restaurant located at11 E. Furman Place, Spring Valley. Mr. Gilles attacked and assaulted P.O. Roper after taking P.O. Roper’snightstick and striking P.O. Roper with the nightstick with such force that P.O. Roper was in extreme pain andcaused momentary numbness and impairment of P.O. Roper’s arm. P.O. Roper knew that if Mr. Gilles’ blowstruck him in the head, it would have been sufficiently powerful to kill him or in the very least to render himunconscious and defenseless. P.O. Roper was in fear for his life. As Mr. Gilles raised the nightstick again tostrike P.O. Roper, P.O. Roper drew his service weapon and fired a shot, which struck Mr. Gilles in the neck, inan attempt to stop Mr. Gilles from continuing his assault, to no avail. Mr. Gilles continued to strike at P.O.Roper with the nightstick. P.O. Roper fired again, striking Mr. Gilles in the head, fatally wounding him. Mr.Gilles was pronounced dead at 3:42 a.m.After due deliberation on the evidence presented in this matter, the Grand Jury found no reasonable cause to votean indictment; the panel found that P.O. Roper was justified in using deadly physical force against Mr. Gilles.A detailed report of the results of the independent investigation - as well as the legal principles relevant to thiscase - can be found at RocklandCountyDA.com.I wish to thank the 23 citizens of Rockland County who comprised the Grand Jury for their service, for the timeand effort they devoted to this investigation and for the careful manner in which they discharged their solemnduty. Each member met this challenge with dedication, skill and respect, while keeping foremost in their minds,their responsibility to the oaths they had taken.
 
 
STATEMENT OF THE ROCKLAND COUNTY DISTRICTATTORNEYS OFFICE REGARDING THEINVESTIGATION INTO THE DEATH OF HERVE GILLESMAY 8, 2012
 
 
INTRODUCTION
:
Review of the evidence in this matter reveals the death of Herve Gilles to be atragedy. One that highlights the lack of resources and programs present in ourcommunity to treat the seriously mentally ill who interact with the criminal justicesystem. It is apparent that Rockland County needs a Mental Health Court similar to theone established in Westchester County. To date, our County has not received the fundingfor such a Court. Herve Gilles had many prior interactions with the police and criminal justice system. If a Mental Health Court had been existent Mr. Giles perhaps could havebeen mandated into treatment before his mental health and behavior escalated out of control presenting a life threatening danger. Loss of life is tragic and highlights the needto devote resources to a problem in our community, which has not been properlyaddressed.On December 14, 2011 at approximately 3:22 a.m., Herve Gilles, age 48, wasfatally shot by Police Officer John Roper (hereinafter, “P.O. Roper”) of the Village of Spring Valley Police Department in the parking lot located on the corner of E. FurmanPlace and Franklin Street, Spring Valley, New York. At the time, P.O. Roper wasresponding to a call of Herve Gilles throwing rocks near El Buen Gusto Bar andRestaurant located at 11 E. Furman Place, Spring Valley. Mr. Gilles attacked andassaulted P.O. Roper after taking P.O. Roper’s nightstick and striking P.O. Roper withthe nightstick with such force that P.O. Roper was in extreme pain and causedmomentary numbness and impairment of P.O. Roper’s arm. P.O. Roper knew that if Mr.Gilles’ blow struck him in the head, it would have been sufficiently powerful to kill himor in the very least to render him unconscious and defenseless. P.O. Roper was in fearfor his life. As Mr. Gilles raised the nightstick again to strike P.O. Roper, P.O. Roperdrew his service weapon and fired a shot, which struck Mr. Gilles in the neck, in anattempt to stop Mr. Gilles from continuing his assault, to no avail. Mr. Gilles continuedto strike at P.O. Roper with the nightstick. P.O. Roper fired again, striking Mr. Gilles inthe head, fatally wounding him. Mr. Gilles was pronounced dead at 3:42 a.m.Four investigations immediately commenced: the Rockland County SheriffsDepartment Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Village of Spring Valley PoliceDepartment, the Rockland County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Rockland CountyDistrict Attorneys Office. The investigations were independent; the investigating officershad no involvement whatsoever with the events leading up to Herve Gilles’ death.The investigative process of the Rockland County Sheriffs Department Bureau of Criminal Investigation included taking photographs at the scene and transportingevidence to and from the Medical Examiners Office.The Village of Spring Valley Police Department’s investigation includedcanvassing the area for witnesses and evidence and taking statements from witnessesand/or potential witnesses.The Rockland County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy of HerveGilles.The Rockland County District Attorneys Office conducted its own separateinvestigation into this matter. Members of the Rockland County District AttorneysOffice were notified of this incident and immediately began investigating the case. Thisseparate and extensive investigation included, but was not limited to: canvassing the2

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