The state Attorney General's Office has concluded that Beachwood Sgt. Bruce Harris used justifiable force when he shot Mark Tanouye once in the chest on the night of July 19, in the parking lot of the High Velocity Sports Bar in Beachwood.
"In a letter dated December 18, 2012, Stephen J. Taylor, the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice within the Office of the Attorney General, informed me that after their independent review of the investigation concurred with my determination that the use of deadly force was justified,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said.
Ford's investigation into the shooting previously concluded that Harris had acted properly. The matter was then sent to the state Attorney General's Office for an independent review, she said
“This brings this matter to its conclusion," Ford said. "No police officer looks forward to the day when they have to make a decision that might result in the loss of life. However, the evidence we reviewed is quite convincing. The police officer involved, Sgt. Bruce Harris, acted with unquestioned justification in exercising lethal force under the circumstances.” .
Harris was on duty in a marked police cruiser at 10:50 p.m. on July 19 when he responded to a 10:50 p.m. call about a man "creating a disturbance" in the parking lot of the sports bar on Route 166, Executive Assistant Prosecutor Michel A. Paulhus has said.
Harris got out of his patrol car and confronted Tanouye in the sports bar parking lot. Tanouye was carrying a .25 caliber handgun, Paulhus has said.
"He ignored repeated commands to drop his weapon," Paulhus has said. "The officer discharged his weapon and the male suffered fatal injuries."
Tanouye was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy later determined he died of a single gunshot would to the chest.
Tanouye had a blood alcohol level of 0.092 at the time of the shooting. The state's legal limit is 0.08, Paulhus has said.