LCPD officer cleared in fatal checkpoint shooting

Updated:

Lake City Police Department officer Mike Lee.
LAKE CITY, Fla. —

A Lake City police officer has been cleared in a March fatal shooting at a DUI checkpoint.
 
Officer Mike Lee was assisting a vehicle check on March 14 shortly before midnight. According to a Lake City Police Department news release, the driver, Jimmy Barker, raised a small silver revolver instead of his license and registration.
 
Lee grabbed the revolver with one hand and with other reached for his gun, the release said.
 
Barker reportedly wouldn't drop his weapon as the officer ordered during the incident. Lee shot Barker in chest the with his department issued gun, the release said.
 
Barker died at the scene and Lee received treatment at a hospital for injuries to his wrist and arm.
 
“Officer Lee was placed on paid administrative leave immediately after the shooting investigation was initiated,” said Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore. “This is standard practice in a police shooting, and required by our agency policy. It provides the officer involved time to recover mentally, as well as time for the investigators in the case to conduct necessary interviews.”
 
The investigation was presented to the Columbia County grand jury. The jury convened on May 20 and issued a report on the same day.

“The discharge of the firearm by Officer Lee was reasonable under the circumstances and in response to a deadly threat upon his life, the lives of his fellow officers, and the lives of other citizens at the checkpoint,” the jury said in its report.
 
The release said the grand jury recommended no criminal charges to be filed and State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister accepted the recommendation.
 
“We are glad to have Officer Lee back to full duty,” Gilmore said. “He is an integral part of our department and this community, and I can only echo the support provided by many citizens as we move forward from this incident. His swift response to reach forward and grab Barker’s weapon, rather than retreat, likely saved not only his own life but those of others at the checkpoint.”
 
Lee returned to work on May 21.