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Beloit officer cleared of charges after shooting suspect who tried to steal the officer's gun

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Beloit-Police

The incident happened on Dec. 15 near Prairie Ave. and Copeland Ave.

BELOIT (WREX) — A Beloit Police officer's actions have been justified after being involved in an officer-involved shooting last month

The incident happened on Dec. 15 near Prairie Ave. and Copeland Ave. Authorities say a man, later identified as Jorge Bautista Almaraz, threw himself into the passenger side of a car that was driving by. Almaraz then walked away from the scene while the driver called police to file an accident report.

While an officer was taking information for the report, Almaraz walked by the scene, authorities say. 

Authorities say the officer, later identified as Sgt. Shannon Dykstra, attempted to make contact with Almaraz. Body camera video shows Almaraz stop momentarily before continuing to walk away, authorities say.

Sgt. Dykstra then requested back-up as she continues to try to make contact with Almaraz.

Authorities say the sergeant was able to make contact with Almaraz in the area of Prairie Ave. and Crescent Dr. 

As the sergeant was talking to Almaraz, authorities say he lunged forward and grabbed the sergeant's duty weapon as it is still in its holster. 

That's when the sergeant drew her weapon and began giving verbal commands to Almaraz to get down the ground, authorities say. Almaraz continued to run and lunge forward at Sgt. Dykstra as she continued to back away and give verbal commands, officials say.

Almaraz continued to lunge forward at the officer. Authorities say that's when Sgt. Dykstra fired her weapon, hitting Almaraz twice. 

Almaraz was taken to the hospital for his injuries. He was released from the hospital and charged with attempting to disarm a peace officer and criminal damage to property. 

The Rock County State's Attorneys Office has cleared Sgt. Dykstra of any charges and says Almaraz was shot due to his own actions of trying to take the sergeant's weapon.

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