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Bremerton police officer cleared by prosecutors

A Bremerton police officer who fired his weapon four or five times at a suspect in early August is back on the job following an investigation into the shooting by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and a review of that investigation by the prosecutor’s office.

Sgt. Billy Renfro has returned to duty following a decision by prosecutors that his decision to fire his weapon at a Taco Bell robbery suspect was justified.

“In short, basically what we found is that Sgt. Renfro’s actions were consistent with the defenses lined out in (state law),” Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said. “His actions were consistent with the obligations of a police officer and he did what he was supposed to do. He was concerned that the suspect was going for a deadly weapon and utilized deadly force in an appropriate manner.”

Renfro pulled over a car in East Bremerton within minutes of a robbery at the East Bremerton Taco Bell after officers were told that the suspect might have a gun.

After being pulled over in Viewcrest Village, the driver of the car approached Renfro’s vehicle and refused to follow the officer’s directions, Hauge said.

Hauge said the suspect then “dove back into car as if going for weapon” before Renfro opened fire. None of those shots struck the suspect and he was able to get away on foot.

Three days later, though, on August 7, Bremerton resident Sean T. Brown turned himself in. He was originally charged with second-degree robbery, but subsequently plead guilty to first-degree theft and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Brown apparently approached two restaurant employees taking out garbage and demanded money and their cell phones before fleeing with about $1,600. Police later determined that one of the employees was aware of the planned “robbery” and he was subsequently charged with second-degree theft.

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