Application of deadly force taught at CVTC, E.C. shooting to be ruled on by DA

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - When a suspect has a gun, police officers have a split second to make a life and death decision.

Last Friday, an Eau Claire Police officer shot and killed a man who lead officers on a high speed chase.

Following the shooting, some questioned whether shooting and killing gunman Christian Peterson was the right move.

A determination of whether the officer's actions were appropriate will be made after the Department of Justice delivers its report to Eau Claire County District Attorney Brian Wright.

"Ultimately, it comes down to whether the use of force in self-defense of others was reasonable (to determine if the action was appropriate)" Wright said.

Police haven't said whether Peterson pointed the gun at officers or the driver whose car he was trying to get into, or where on Peterson's body he was shot.

Former Madison officer and Chippewa Valley Technical College Emergency Services Associate Dean Eric Anderson said aiming for other parts of the body are less likely to eliminate a threat to safety and law enforcement students said they understand the risks involved.

"Officers are not trained to shoot to kill. We make that very clear. The terminology is to shoot to stop. The most effective way to stop a threat immediately is to shoot for the central nervous system," Anderson said. "If we were to try to shoot a gun out of somebody's hand, or if we were to shoot a person in the leg or arm, the chances of that round missing its target are very high."

"You have to expect to be both the caretaker and enforcing the law with things such as deadly force," CVTC student Jenaye Pearson said.

Eau Claire Police said target practice requirements vary between agencies but that it requires officers to practice on the range at least six times each year.