A Washington County deputy who fatally shot a man in south Fayetteville last month has been cleared by an internal investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.
Corporal Brad Robinson shot and killed Benjamin Ortiz during an altercation at Tire Trax, 800 S. School Ave., on Dec. 21.
Robinson was at the tire shop waiting for his vehicle to be serviced when he was approached by Ortiz who had pulled a knife out of the backpack he was carrying. Robinson drew his weapon and began backing up while ordering Ortiz to stop, but Ortiz refused to comply and lunged toward the deputy with the knife. Robinson then fired his weapon, striking and killing Ortiz.
A suicide note was later discovered inside Ortiz’ backpack.
The investigation concluded that Ortiz committed aggravated assault when he used the knife as a deadly weapon, and that Robinson was justified by state law in using deadly force against Ortiz.
Robinson returned to work Wednesday, Jan. 4 after being cleared in the investigation.
The Fayetteville Police Department is also investigating the incident.
A review of the incident scene photos shows BENJAMIN ORTIZ lying on his back in front of the bay door where Robinson’s vehicle was being serviced. Ortiz has two bullet wounds; one in the center of his chest, the other in the upper right pectoral muscle area (near the shoulder). The knife Ortiz was using was lying near his body. It appeared to be a kitchen knife with black handle, (approximately 6 inches in total length) with stainless colored blade.
After interviewing Cpl. Robinson and reviewing evidence photos, videos and Ortiz’s suicide note, it appears Cpl. Robinson was lawful in his actions.
I find Benjamin Ortiz committed aggravated assault (Ark Code 5-14-204-Class D Felony) against Cpl. Brad Robinson when he used a knife as a deadly weapon against Cpl. Robinson. I find that Cpl. Robinson was justified in using deadly force when he took steps to protect his own life. Robinson acted in accordance with Arkansas State Statute 5-2-607; Use of deadly physical force in defense of a person, which states:
(a) A person is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if the person reasonably believes that the other person is:
(1) Committing or about to commit a felony involving force or violence;
(2) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force;
This investigation was conducted in accordance with Washington County’s Office of Professional Conduct Policy- Section 90.
It is my finding that Cpl. Brad Robinson is EXONERATED in this incident.
Source: Washington County Sheriff’s Office