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Montgomery Co. officers who shot, killed a 21-year-old in a McDonald's parking lot won't be charged

Ryan LeRoux was shot and killed July 16 after multiple officers responded to a call of a man who refused to pay or move his car in a Gaithersburg drive-thru.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. —  The Grand Jury of Montgomery County declined to indict four officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old in July 2021. After a months-long investigation, and a two-week review of evidence by the grand jury, it was determined that the officers' actions were "legally justifiable" and no criminal charges would be brought.

Ryan LeRoux was fatally shot by police outside a Gaithersburg Mcdonald's after Montgomery County Police Department officers were called to the scene by employees claiming Leroux was refusing to pay or move his car after ordering food from the drive-thru lane.

A 28-minute bodycam compilation video released in late July shows a uniformed police officer approaching the car and reporting seeing LeRoux reclined in the front seat and a gun on the front passenger seat. 

In a slowed-down version of one portion of the video, LeRoux leans forward and appears to be pointing at a dark object. Footage from the camera inside the McDonald's shows the back of LeRoux's body, where he leans back with his arm raised. That's when the four officers shoot at the car, which can be seen from multiple camera angles in MCPD's full video online

The officers involved were Officer Brooks Inman, Officer Sara Vaughan, Officer John Cerny, and Corporal Romund Schmuck. All four were placed on administrative leave during the investigation. 

Per department policy, the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. 

LeRoux's family members and supporters have consistently called for an overhaul to mental health crisis response within MCPD.

"People who have mental health crisis should not be victims of gun violence by police," co-chairman of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, Bob Veiga,  said, before focusing on LeRoux's case. "They could’ve saved a life rather than taking a life.”

Ryan's father, Paul LeRoux, said making improvements to mental health responses could lead to far fewer people dying. 

"These counties, these police forces need to know that there is a mental health crisis, especially with COVID," he said. "I’d like to see the laws changed in some way and at least see the police follow the laws so we don’t have another repeat of Ryan. They could’ve deescalated that. They could’ve tended to him and that never had to happen.”

When WUSA9 spoke with LeRoux's father after the shooting, he said one of his biggest takeaways from watching the police bodycam footage was that his son was in a really bad place. The father went on to explain his son had just lost his girlfriend and his job, and his grandmother had recently died.

He also said he could not see definitively that a gun was in his son’s hand - -from what he watched, he said it looked like an unnecessary use of force and he wanted an unedited version of the footage to be released.

"You wouldn’t think you’d have this systemic problem but it exists," he said. "It’s time for people to wake up and make [a] change.”

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