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DA: No charges for SWAT team officer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque Police Department officer who shot and killed a man after an hourslong manhunt in March 2013 will face no criminal charges, the District Attorney’s office announced Friday.

SWAT team officer Anthony Sedler shot and killed 41-year-old Parrish Dennison on March 5, 2013, after police said he had a gun and fled, hiding behind a bush in northeast Albuquerque before rushing a locked-down restaurant. Officers recovered a weapon from Dennison.

Police were initially called to the area because a woman was trying to sell a stolen banjo and bass at the Music Go Round store near Menaul and Louisiana. Police found two suspects in a car in the parking lot. One drove away, while the other – later identified as Dennison – fled on foot, jumping onto the strip mall’s roof.

Police say he pointed a gun at officers before losing them.

When Sedler was interviewed he said Dennison had the gun in his right hand and was holding it in a manner “as if he was going to use it to shoot somebody,” according to the shooting review released by the DA’s office Friday.

Sedler said Dennison was running toward officers, then tried to kick in the door of a nearby Chili’s restaurant, which was on lockdown and full of customers.

Sedler then fired at Dennison from about 15 yards away. He said Dennison pointed a gun at him and that was when he fired twice more.

SWAT officer Francisco Aragon also fired at Dennison during the incident but didn’t hit him. Aragon told investigators during an interview that he was on top of the Chili’s when he saw Dennison jump out of the bush and run toward the restaurant. Aragon fired twice, he said.

Dennison’s revolver was pried out of his hands after he had been shot, according to the report.

The Department of Justice, which found APD violated residents’ civil rights through its use of force after an investigation, criticized the SWAT team in its report released last April, saying the team lacked leadership, among other things.

The DA’s office has never pursued charges against an officer involved in a fatal shooting.

“A thorough analysis of the evidence indicates that Officer Sedler shot Parrish Dennison in self-defense, in defense of fellow officers and in defense of patrons of the businesses in the area,” the report reads.

Sedler had a camera on his SWAT helmet but he told investigators he didn’t turn it on because the confrontation happened too quickly.

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