Grand jury declines to indict 2 troopers in fatal shooting

December 22, 2022 GMT

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury has decided no charges are warranted against two Kentucky State Police troopers who fatally shot a Grant County man last year.

Evidence from the November 2021 shooting of Gary Bressler was presented to grand jurors last week, and the panel declined to return indictments against troopers Zachary Lusk and Douglas Holt, Grant County Commonwealth’s Attorney Leigh Ann Roberts told The Kentucky Enquirer in an email.

Bressler, 48, of Williamstown, was pronounced dead at a hospital following the early morning shooting at his home on Nov. 3.

A redacted incident report obtained by The Enquirer in March did not include the agency’s narrative of the incident, but a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bressler’s family says he was depressed when he called police and then took a decorative samurai sword and walked outside to his front yard.

“He was not threatening anyone verbally nor with the sword,” the lawsuit states. “He was holding it with his arm extended and the tip of the sword an inch or so from the ground.”

After Bressler did not comply with a second command from police to drop the sword, the troopers fired at him, the lawsuit states.

Bressler’s family was disappointed by the grand jury’s decision, said Paul Hill, the lawyer representing them. He said grand jury proceeding in Kentucky are secret, so it’s not clear how prosecutors presented the evidence in court.