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Aug 3, 2012 6:40 AM by Kate Richards

Police say deadly force on teen justified

CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) - Prosecutors say a Buena Vista police officer was justified in fatally shooting an 18-year-old Leadville man who led officers on an 80-mile chase and had a gun.

Investigators later learned Jacob VanderBeek's gun was a replica pellet gun, and a grenade he had was inert.

Authorities say the chase started early July 14 after a Lake County sheriff's deputy tried to stop VanderBeek for allegedly driving erratically.

At times VanderBeek would stop, then drive off. At one point, the deputy shot at VanderBeek and told a dispatcher shots had been fired, leading other officers to believe VanderBeek was the one firing.

Three district attorneys who reviewed the case said this week that officer Dean Morgan nevertheless was justified in shooting when VanderBeek later pointed a gun at him.

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