Grand jury clears officer who fatally shot off-duty firefighter - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Grand jury clears officer who fatally shot off-duty firefighter

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A Jackson County grand jury has cleared a police officer who fatally shot an off-duty firefighter celebrating his wedding.

The grand jury issued a no-true bill, according to a news release issued Friday afternoon by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Officer Don Hubbard is already back at work in limited duties.

Anthony Bruno, 26, had a high blood-alcohol content level, according to his autopsy.

Bruno had been celebrating his recent nuptials during a reception that lingered into the early morning hours of Dec. 1. Bruno and a taxi cab driver who had driven him, his bride and a friend from a downtown restaurant to a nearby hotel became embroiled in an altercation over a fare.

Hubbard who was working off-duty security at the hotel responded. He chased after Bruno and was in the process of putting him in handcuffs when Bruno turned violent and began to pummel Hubbard, authorities said.

Police say Bruno pinned Hubbard to the ground and was repeatedly punching him in the face, leaving Hubbard no choice but to fire his service weapon. The grand jury agreed.

Hubbard suffered significant injuries including broken facial bones. Bruno was shot twice in the chest.

According to the autopsy report released late Friday afternoon, Bruno had multiple abrasions to his face and head as well as contusions on his hand.

Bruno's blood-alcohol content was .21. You are considered legally drunk at .08.

Baker thanked the grand jurors. She said because grand jury proceedings are closed in Missouri that she can offer no additional comment.

"This is great tragedy, not only for the Bruno family but for so many others touched by this incident," Baker said.

KCTV5 filed an open-records request for documents related to the shooting on Dec. 1, and has renewed those requests Friday afternoon.

A police report released in December said that a City Cab driver picked up Bruno, his bride, Stephanie Steele, and Bruno's cousin at Anthony's restaurant in downtown Kansas City. The 55-year-old driver took the three to the Marriott Muehlebach Hotel, and the fare was about $6. The hotel is near 12th Street and Wyandotte Avenue.

As Bruno and his new wife prepared to exit the cab, they asked the cab driver about taking Bruno's "very intoxicated" cousin to his Northland home, according to the police report.

The cab driver kept the meter running during the conversation, which apparently enraged Bruno, who punched the cab driver in the head, police say.

"The victim leaned forward to avoid any additional punches, but the suspect also leaned forward from his position and continued striking him in the face with a closed right fist," the report states. "The victim stated that he attempted to exit the vehicle at this time when the suspect opened the driver side sliding door of the vehicle and continued to physically assault him. The victim stated that he was punched in the right side of the torso, neck and face by the suspect."

As this occurred, Hubbard, who was in uniform and working security at the hotel, ran to the scene. As Bruno fled the scene, Hubbard gave chase, according to the police report.

While this was unfolding, Steele, who was still in her wedding dress, told officers that she and her husband argued with the cab driver over him continuing to run the meter.

"She said during the argument, she stated that the cab driver threw the money she had given him back toward her near her face and called her an unknown name," the report says. She said this verbal dispute caused her husband to punch the cab driver.

The cab driver suffered bruising to his face, including his nose area. His face and clothing were bloody, an officer said.

The chase between Hubbard and Bruno ended in the 1300 block of Baltimore Avenue.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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