Deputy cleared of wrongdoing in shooting death of Ebin Proctor

An investigation by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office has cleared the deputy who shot and killed 18-year-old Ebin Proctor in Verde Village last year. (VVN file photo)

An investigation by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office has cleared the deputy who shot and killed 18-year-old Ebin Proctor in Verde Village last year. (VVN file photo)

PRESCOTT -- Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher was notified by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office this week that Deputy Steven Gorman has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the May 2015 shooting death Ebin Proctor.

The county attorney's conclusion was based on a review of the Arizona Department of Public Safety shooting investigation report and extensive supplemental documentation submitted. The findings from the County Attorney's Office state that no evidence exists to indicate any wrongdoing on the part of Deputy Gorman.

The County Attorney's report has been sent to the Department of Public Safety, Special Investigations Unit. The following comments are taken from County Attorney's report:

"This office has now completed a thorough review of this material. These types of situations too often end in tragedy and Ebin Proctor's death is no exception. However, upon review of the investigative file, it is readily apparent that no evidence exists to indicate any criminal wrongdoing on the part of Deputy Steven Gorman of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office."

The report goes on to say, "The evidence from your investigation indicates that Deputy Gorman did everything he could possibly do during the incident to prevent the resulting outcome. However, Mr. Proctor simply would not comply and forced the deputy to take the action he did to secure his own safety while attempting to apprehend Mr. Proctor. The fact that Mr. Proctor had an active felony warrant and had consumed methamphetamine, marijuana and alcohol, although unknown at the time by the deputy, helps explain Mr. Proctor's conduct in fleeing and fighting with the deputy that night. Mr. Proctor's conduct clearly escalated a situation that could have been resolved peaceably at several different points during the encounter. By acting the way he did in this volatile situation, Mr. Proctor forced the deputy to take the actions that ultimately resulted in his death. But for his own conduct, Mr. Proctor would be alive."

Sheriff Mascher thanked the DPS investigators and County Attorney's Office for their detailed review of the circumstances that resulted in affirming Deputy Gorman's actions were justified. The Sheriff has commended Deputy Gorman for utilizing his training, tactics, and the will to survive in dealing with this violent suspect. The deputy's actions also prevented the suspect from further endangering the community had he been able to flee from the scene, said Mascher.

About 4:09 a.m. May 30, 2015, 18-year-old Ebin Proctor of Cottonwood was one of six occupants in a vehicle stopped by two YCSO deputies on Vaquero Lane in Verde Village. During contact with deputies, Proctor gave a false identity.

It was later determined he was on active felony probation for a May 2014 incident, where he plead guilty to resisting arrest and aggravated assault of a Chino Valley police officer. Proctor had violated his probation and a $25,000 felony warrant was issued for his arrest.

A few minutes into the traffic stop, Proctor suddenly ran. Gorman, 26, initiated a foot pursuit and caught up with Proctor in the back yard of a home on nearby Yuma Circle, at which point Deputy Gorman tried his Taser, which was ineffective. Proctor immediately attacked Deputy Gorman. In attempt to stop the assault, Gorman deployed his pepper spray, which also was ineffective. Proctor continued assaulting the officer and began struggling to gain control of Gorman's weapon while they on the ground. Fearing for his own life, the deputy was forced to shoot Proctor, who died on scene.

Deputy Gorman was transported to a local hospital and treated for injuries sustained during the attack.

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