After reviewing a State Police investigative file, 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen has declined to prosecute Warren Police Sgt. Robbie K. Ashcraft in connection with the September 13 non-fatal shooting of a burglary suspect.
The suspect, Dave Goffin, was being sought for an outstanding warrant for a violent felony when police learned that he had burglarized a relative’s home and stolen two handguns and ammunition, according to Deen.
It was later reported, Deen said, that Goffin had been given a ride that day by a man who said that he saw Goffin with the firearms and had feared that he was going to be robbed by Goffin.
“All this information was known to Ashcraft when she and another officer, Aaron Hines, located Goffin at a commercial garage in Warren,” Deen said.
“Instead of complying with the officers’ demands to go to the rear of the vehicle he was in and submit to arrest, Goffin broke free from Hines, at which time Ashcraft said she saw Goffin’s right shoulder come up as if he was reaching for something, and in order to avoid what Ashcraft understandably feared was going to be gunfire directed toward her or her colleague, she fired her handgun once and struck Goffin,” Deen said. “He fell to the ground and ceased trying to resist or flee.”
Deen said it was learned shortly thereafter that the item seen by Ashcraft in Goffin’s pocket was a clip to one of the firearms he had been carrying. The firearms were subsequently discovered in the vehicle in which Goffin had been hiding. He also had ammunition in another pocket but was otherwise unarmed.
Deen said he seriously considered charging Ashcraft with third-degree battery but criminal negligence required a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in similar circumstances.
“Given Ashcraft’s purpose and what she had been informed about Goffin and his previous behavior, and considering also Goffin’s foolishly provocative and risky actions at the time of the shooting, I cannot say with confidence that her conduct met the standard for criminal negligence,” Deen said.