Shooting by Officer Justified, D.A. Finds

The fatal shooting of an armed parolee who led police on a chase through crowded downtown streets during an April art festival has been ruled legally justified by the Ventura County district attorney's office.

In a report released Wednesday, prosecutors found that Ventura Police Officer Ray Broomfield's killing of Jason Todd Hayley was necessary to protect hundreds of people during the city's annual Artwalk celebration.

Hayley, 28, led officers on a 22-minute chase through downtown streets, businesses and across rooftops as he carried a loaded .38-caliber revolver, according to authorities. He was shot in the back with a shotgun from a distance of about 40 feet near the corner of Poli and Oak streets.

Small amounts of illegal drugs and alcohol were found in his system and records show that Hayley, a transient, had an extensive criminal history including possession of dangerous weapons, robbery and narcotics violations.

Police also suspected him in connection with 11 residential burglaries between February and April and, if convicted, Hayley may have faced a life sentence in prison, prosecutors said.

During the chase, Hayley was carrying a gun that had been stolen in a residential burglary, authorities said. He also told police he would not return to prison, and he frequently pointed the gun underneath his chin, the report states.

"He endangered literally thousands of people during the course of his running through the streets and the rooftops," Deputy Dist. Atty. Donald C. Glynn said Wednesday.

"His bizarre and erratic behavior clearly made him a danger if allowed to run loose through a crowded area with a loaded, large-caliber gun with his state of mind," according to Glynn's final report.

Ventura Police Lt. Carl Handy said Wednesday that Broomfield, a 28-year veteran on the force, was also cleared of any wrongdoing in departmental criminal and administrative investigations.

Broomfield was placed on a brief paid leave, as is department policy, but he was allowed to return to work three days after the shooting.

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