By Samantha Masunaga
A Madison, Wis., police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 19-year-old African American man Friday had been exonerated in a previous fatal shooting, officials disclosed Saturday.
The 2007 shooting involving Matt Kenny, 45, was ruled a "suicide by cop," said Madison Police Chief Mike Koval in a Saturday press conference. The case was reviewed and audited at the time by the district attorney's office in Dane County, he said. Kenny, a 12-year department veteran, was the primary responding officer in the incident Friday that resulted in the shooting death of Tony Robinson.
Police said they received several calls about a man who had "battered someone" and had been "out in traffic" and then gone inside an apartment, Koval said Friday. Kenny heard a disturbance in the apartment, forced his way in, and after a scuffle with Robinson in which Kenny received a "blow to the head," the officer shot Robinson, Koval said.
Robinson later was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds at a nearby hospital. Koval did not disclose how many shots were fired, saying the information was part of the shooting investigation, which will be handled by the state's Division of Criminal Investigation.
Kenny was placed on administrative leave with pay pending results of the investigation, Koval said. He said that Kenny received a commendation of valor for his participation in the 2007 fatal shooting.
The state agency will handle the probe of the new shooting in line with a 2014 Wisconsin law that requires all officer-involved shootings to be reviewed by an outside agency. Findings will be turned over to the Dane County district attorney's office, which will also review the case, Koval said.
Koval said he went to the home of Robinson's family early Saturday morning to express his condolences and "remorse for the loss of life." He met Robinson's grandparents in the driveway, and they spoke for about 45 minutes and prayed together, he said.
"To his family, and to his friends, and to this community, that is a loss," Koval said. "Nineteen years old is too young."
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