Sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot man near downtown jail resigns

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SAN DIEGO — A San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man that escaped custody last week has left the department, a spokesman confirmed Thursday.

The deputy, 23-year-old Aaron Russell, resigned from the department Wednesday, nearly a week after he fatally wounded 36-year-old San Diego resident Nicholas Peter Bils on May 1 outside the county jail downtown. Russell had been with the department approximately 18 months, officials say.

Bils who had been arrested by rangers with the California Department of Parks and Recreation for allegedly threatening a ranger with a golf club at Old Town San Diego State Park, was being transported to the downtown detention facility when he managed to escape shortly before 6 p.m., San Diego police Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

“It appears (he) was able to slip the handcuffs off of at least one of his wrists and was able to open the door to the (government) vehicle,” Dobbs said.

As Bils ran off to the north, Russell, who was walking to work with a fellow deputy, saw him and gave chase along with his colleague. Moments later, Russell fired at least one round, mortally wounding the fleeing suspect.

Exactly what prompted the deputy to open fire remains unclear.

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