BILLINGS – Just six minutes after being dismissed, jurors decided Wednesday that a Billings police officer who shot and killed a knife-wielding man last year was justified.
Zachary Hoven was shot and killed last April after an incident with police in the downtown area.
Officer Brian Weaver shot Hoven three times, after Hoven failed to listen to commands. He also threw knives and other objects at officers outside of an apartment building.
At the time, Police Chief Rich St. John said Hoven was in the Sandra Apartment building at 13. N. 32nd St. when he was seen by someone in another building through an open window swinging a knife.
When officers arrived, Hoven reportedly threw knives at them as they were staged in the alley.
Officers used a Taser to try and subdue Hoven, but it was not successful.
When Weaver, along with another officer, entered the building, Hoven emerged from a room with a knife tied or affixed to his hand and began moving toward the two officers, St. John said.
They told him to stop and drop the knife, St. John said. When he didn’t, Solorio fired his Taser and Weaver fired with his handgun.
Weaver was initially placed on paid administrative leave as the shooting was investigated. His case was then heard before a coroner’s inquest jury, which is called to determine whether officer-involved shootings are justified homicides.