Two Midland Police Department officers are back to their regular duties following a "no bill" ruling by a Midland County grand jury.
After hearing evidence from a Texas Rangers investigation, the grand jury for the 142nd District Court ruled on Wednesday that Sgt. Mitch Russell and Officer Sean Sharp were found to have committed no criminal wrongdoing in an officer-involved shooting that occurred on December 1, 2014. Rosendo Gino Rodriquez, 49, was fatally shot by Russell and Sharp after he attacked officers with a machete in a confined space inside his home.
Midland police were originally called to the scene by Midland County Sheriff's Office deputies, who, along with a neighbor, reported that Rodriquez appeared to have shot at mental health officials who were conducting a welfare check on him around 10:18 a.m. at his residence in the 2700 block of Washington Avenue. A Midland County deputy received minor injuries from shattered glass as a result of the incident and was treated on scene. An investigation in the following days showed that Rodriquez had most likely used an unknown object to shatter the glass after showing aggression toward the deputies.
MPD negotiators attempted multiple times to make contact with Rodriquez upon arrival but were unsuccessful. Several hours later, officers entered the home and found Rodriquez in a small bathroom, yielding a machete. Officers used less-than-lethal bean bag rounds in an effort to force Rodriquez to drop the machete, but he was unaffected. Rodriquez continued to swing his weapon at officers within the confined space, resulting in the use of deadly force. Rodriquez struck one officer with the flat side of the machete during the altercation.
Sgt. Russell and Officer Sharp were placed on administrative leave per MPD policy immediately following the incident and a Texas Rangers investigation was launched. An internal MPD administrative review board also found the two officers to be in compliance with all state/federal laws and department policy. The two were placed on administrative duty on Dec. 30 and will now return to their normal duties following the grand jury decision. Sgt. Russell serves on the West Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force and Officer Sharp oversees fitness training for MPD officers.
“Our officers attempted to make contact with Rodriquez for several hours after he acted aggressively toward Midland County deputies, and utilized less-than-lethal means in an attempt to subdue his violent actions before resorting to deadly force,” Police Chief Price Robinson said. “It is my belief based on the information we’ve reviewed that Sgt. Russell and Officer Sharp acted professionally and in accordance with their training, MPD General Orders, and state law. These officers have my full support.”
Officer Sharp has worked for MPD since 2003 and Sgt. Russell has since 1991.###
Media Contact: Public Information Officer Sara Bustilloz