No charges to be issued against officer involved in death of Bruce Young

Bruce Young

MILWAUKEE -- A man running from law enforcement back in December wound up dead on Milwaukee's south side, and there were a lot of questions as to how. Now, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is releasing its reports, showing 40-year-old Bruce Young was hit by a minivan driven by a federal agent -- but they say that's not how Young died.

It all happened within seconds. The department of justice says Young was hit by the van on December 15, 2016 fell to the ground, then shot himself.

Dashcam video from a private citizen was obtained by FOX6 News soon after Young died. It happened as federal agents were trying to arrest him.

The video shows Young crossing the street near South 34th and Greenfield. A van driven by an ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agent strikes him and Young falls. But according to a subsequent investigation released Thursday, the minivan did not kill Young. The report says, "Young was knocked to the ground, then shot himself in the head, causing his death."

Officer-involved death near 34th and Greenfield

The report says Young can be seen on video surveillance holding an object to the right side of his head, running from officers. The radio transmissions from that day include the following:

"He shot himself in the head. he shot himself in the head."

Department of justice investigators say in addition to the gunshot wound, there was no blunt trauma except small abrasions to Young's knees. Investigators say there was a 9mm gun found next to Young's body. At first, officials say they believed Young may have been wearing an explosive device so the Milwaukee County Bomb Squad was sent in. A duffel bag was dropped by Young not far away and was exploded by the bomb squad. The report says it had numerous weapons inside, as well as various suspected explosive items.

The investigation led officials to Young's storage locker in Germantown. Inside, the documents show investigators found ammunition, empty grenades, explosive compounds, fireworks and gunpowder.

The documents say Young told the informant he expressed interest in "killing people who have wronged him" and was upset about the death of his fiancee, who committed suicide in 2015.

Again, the report was given to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm who is deciding not to issue charges.

Previously, the family of Bruce Young had concerns about the death. The following statement was released by the family's attorney on Thursday afternoon:

"Mr. Young’s family is disappointed in the decision to not charge the ATF officer who– by his own admission – intentionally and, in our view, recklessly, ran Bruce over with an ATF van resulting in his death.  The current national wave of police officers either not charged or acquitted of murder after killing someone is deeply concerning.  However, this environment should not keep us from holding the police accountable for their actions.  Particularly when the ATF and Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department’s own highly questionable and confrontational strategy for taking Bruce into custody produced a perfect storm of public safety issues – for the police, Bruce, and nearby residents.  Not only was the strategy fatally flawed, but independent investigation by DCI - the agency charged with the investigation - was largely thwarted.  Out of over 20 officers present, only two ATF agents, one of them the driver, claimed to have seen Bruce shoot himself.  Those same agents refused to give statements about their involvement for 5 days.  Only after both agents had the opportunity to discuss their personal accounts of the incident with Washington based ATF lawyers did they produce a sanitized story to DCI.  Every other officer was interviewed within hours of the incident.  Dissembling and obfuscation by law enforcement only deepens mistrust of the police and our criminal justice institutions.  The Young family will be examining the various legal options available to achieve justice for Bruce in hopes to prevent similarly situated citizens from unnecessary death when they are ruthlessly and recklessly hunted down by a militarized police force."