By Rachel Dove
PIKEVILLE, Ky. - The Pike County, Ky. grand jury recently heard testimony regarding an incident that occurred in February, involving a defendant who was shot by one or more Kentucky State Police troopers who were responding to complaints of an assault call that included the firing of a gun.
James Sallette, 53, of Island Creek Road in Pikeville, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of assault, first degree, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, two counts of wanton endangerment, first degree and four counts of terroristic threatening, third degree.
On Feb. 26, Sallette is accused of committing first-degree assault when he allegedly cut Christopher Mullins with a knife, causing a serious physical injury. Once the troopers arrived on the scene of the assault, they said they found the defendant to be in possession of a handgun and a shotgun or rifle, in direct violation of state and federal law, since he was a convicted felon.
He committed the offense of wanton endangerment, according to the indictment when he engaged in conduct which created a substantial danger of death or serious injury to KSP Trooper Adam Wright by pointing a gun directly at him, as well as the offense of terroristic threatening when he threatened to commit a crime that was likely to result in the death of the trooper.
Sallette committed the second and third offenses of terroristic threatening when he threatened harm that could have resulted in the deaths of KSP Troopers Ryan Hamilton and Jamie Rose, according to the indictment.
During the confrontation, the indictment states, the use of force by the KSP troopers was found to be reasonable under the circumstances and were justified by Kentucky law, which provides for the use of deadly force when such force is necessary to protect one’s self against death or serious physical injury.
The grand jury expressed no doubt the injuries suffered by Sallette after being shot by the troopers were the direct result of the actions of the defendant when he chose to ignore commands by the officers to submit to a lawful arrest. When Sallette chose to arm himself with deadly weapons and ignore the commands to surrender, according to the indictment, he forced the officers to react and their reactions were reasonable under the law.