An internal investigation has cleared two Cape Coral police officers in the June shooting of Mark Alan Chernin, officials reported Wednesday.
In the early morning hours of June 24, Officers Andrew Miller and Matthew Mills were among those who responded to a report of an armed man walking in the 2200 block of Southeast 15th Street. Officers received calls that the man, later identified as Chernin, had fired shots and was still armed with a rifle.
Officers set up a perimeter and located Chernin. He was holding a Ruger .223 rifle, had a .40 caliber pistol in his waistband and a .45 caliber pistol on a leg holster.
Miller and Mills attempted a dialogue with Chernin and ordered him to drop the guns. He reportedly refused and began to raise the rifle in the direction of the officers.
Mills and Miller fired at Chernin, striking him. He died on scene from his injuries.
As is standard, an investigation into the shooting ensued. The State Attorney's Office concluded that the shooting was justified.
"Based upon the investigative reports provided and the applicable law, I am convinced that the actions of the officers involved in this incident were a legally justifiable use of deadly force, in the defense of themselves or others," State Attorney Stephen B. Russell said. "Therefore, my office will not be filing any criminal charges in this matter."
A subsequent internal investigation by the Cape Coral Police Department's Professional Standards Bureau concluded that the shooting was within policy.
Miller and Mills have returned to full duty.
"The facts of the investigation showed that the actions taken by our officers that night were absolutely necessary and completely driven by Mr. Chernin's decision to threaten them with a rifle," interim Chief of Police Bart Connelly said. "I am extremely proud of all of our officers, including Officers Mills and Miller, who placed themselves in harm's way, by advancing toward an armed individual, to protect our citizens. They responded in a competent and professional manner to an incident in which one shot had already been fired and although the outcome was unfortunate, they performed admirably."
"Out of respect for the Chernin family, on behalf of the Cape Coral Police Department, I offer my condolences for their loss," he said.
Source: Cape Coral Police Department