Four Montgomery County police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Ryan LeRoux have been cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury.
LeRoux was sitting in his car in Gaithersburg last summer when the shooting occurred. On Monday, his father told News4 he’s concerned that police were not held accountable for his son’s death.
The shooting took place on July 16, 2021, after police said officers responded to a call about a customer who had ordered food but was refusing to move through the drive-thru lane at the McDonald's in Gaithersburg, about 30 miles from D.C.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
The 21-year-old was in crisis and had a loaded gun in his car. His father, Paul LeRoux, then told News4 that his son was in a bad place. He had a mental health issue and had lost his job, grandmother and longtime girlfriend. Ryan LeRoux was living out of his car and had recently bought a gun legally, for his own protection.
Officers negotiated with him for half an hour. Then, when several officers say LeRoux pointed that gun at police, officers fired.
Prosecutors say that based on the body camera footage, they could not say for sure if LeRoux was holding a gun or a cellphone. So, the case went to a grand jury, which decided that the officers should not be charged.
“He sat up, and he extended his arm in a straight, locked way towards the police, his right arm,” Rich Gibson, the Howard County state's attorney, said. “We know that to be the case. The question is, what was in his hand?”
Prosecutors say a gun and a cellphone were found in LeRoux’s lap after the shooting.
His father and activists have protested, saying police should have been able to resolve the situation without using deadly force.
LeRoux’s parents issued a statement in response to the verdict.
“Rhonda and I are deeply saddened that four Montgomery County Police Department officers met our African-American son’s cry for help with 23 shots fired. Ryan LeRoux was in the midst of a mental health crisis—not a crime. The MCPD knew that Ryan needed help—not bullets,” the statement reads.
A crisis negotiator was on the way, but didn’t get there before the shooting happened, prosecutors say.
Activists are pushing for police to use more de-escalation tactics and mobile crisis teams.
“This is a situation where time and space could have been used favorably by our police officers and could have saved this young man’s life,” Carlean Ponder, of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, said.
The grand jury heard evidence and watched hours of bodycam video before clearing the officers of wrongdoing, prosecutors say.
Montgomery County police say all four officers have been returned to full-time, active duty status and that there will be an internal investigation.