A status conference is scheduled for June 1 for a Milwaukee man charged in connection with the death of a man shot by a sheriff’s deputy in East Troy in 2016.

Jose G. Lara, 32, pleaded not guilty March 23 in Walworth County Circuit Court to second-degree reckless homicide for the death of Christopher Davis, 21, of Milwaukee, in Roma’s parking lot on Feb. 24, 2016.

On that day, police were conducting a controlled buy of cocaine from Roberto Juarez-Nieves and were waiting for Juarez-Nieves at an East Troy gas station when Juarez-Nieves contacted the informant facilitating the buy and said he was at Roma’s, according to the complaint.

When East Troy police and a Department of Justice special agent arrived at Roma’s with the informant, East Troy police officer Craig Knox had his service weapon drawn and pointed at a dark-colored sedan, according to the complaint. The sedan squealed its tires and drove fast directly at Walworth County Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Ortiz, according to the complaint.

Ortiz fired a shot at the car, which went through the windshield and struck and killed Davis, who was in the front passenger seat, according to the complaint. The car sped out of Roma’s parking lot and fled from police at more than 100 mph while being chased by officers from multiple jurisdictions, according to the complaint. The car was stopped in Muskego. Davis was taken to a Milwaukee hospital, where he died about three hours after the shooting.

Police determined Lara was the driver of the car, and Juarez-Nieves was in the rear passenger seat, according to the complaint.

Juarez-Nieves told police they were at Roma’s for a drug deal and drove off because Lara had a “weird feeling,” according to the complaint.

Earlier reports indicated Juarez-Nieves told Lara to flee after he noticed police vehicles in the parking lot.

Juarez-Nieves said when he heard gunshots and heard glass break, Davis immediately slumped forward, according to the complaint. Juarez-Nieves said he saw a lot of blood coming from Davis’ forehead, and he pulled Davis upright and poured water on his head. Juarez-Nieves said he knew Davis was still breathing initially but said Lara “just kept going,” according to the complaint.

Ortiz was placed on administrative leave after the shooting while the Department of Justice investigated the matter.

After the investigation, in June 2016, then-District Attorney Dan Necci cleared Ortiz of any wrongdoing and said deadly force was justified. Ortiz was restored to full duty.

He received a life-saving award at the Sheriff’s Department’s annual awards ceremony in May for resuscitating a man gasping for breath in a car in October 2016.

 
 

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