Charges declined for Secret Service officers who fatally shot 19-year-old

Washington Post photo by Ricky Carioti
Ilmiya Yarullina holds a passport photo of her son Gordon Casey, 19, on May 19, 2022, in Germantown, Md. Casey was fatally shot by Secret Service agents in Washington, D.C., in April after a report of a burglary at the residence of Peru’s ambassador to the United States.

Federal prosecutors in the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office said Monday they would not file charges against two Secret Service officers who fatally shot a Maryland man whom authorities said tried to enter the home of the Peruvian ambassador while wielding a metal pole.

Prosecutors determined that there was “insufficient evidence” to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers used excessive force in the fatal April 20 shooting of 19-year-old Gordon Casey, authorities said in a statement.

Ilmiya Yarullina, Casey’s mother, said Monday she was frustrated by how the decision was communicated – she said she was told about it by a detective over the phone rather than having a meeting with anyone from the U.S. attorney’s office.

“This is outrageous. I was ignored throughout this entire process,” Yarullina said. “I am disgusted and destroyed as a human.”

According to authorities, shortly before 8 a.m. April 20, U.S. Secret Service officers were dispatched to the ambassador’s residence in the 3000 block of Garrison Street NW after a report of a burglary in progress. Staffers at the residence informed authorities that they had seen Casey breaking windows and attempting to enter the building. Staff members had attempted to stop Casey but were unable to do so because he had armed himself with a metal pole, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

When officers arrived, they gave Casey multiple commands to drop the pole, according to the statement. One officer deployed a Taser.

But Casey still began advancing toward the officers, swinging the pole at them, according to prosecutors. Two of the officers then shot Casey twice, and he died at the scene, according to the statement by prosecutors.

In reaching their determination, prosecutors said, they reviewed police and civilian eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, recorded radio communications, forensic reports, the autopsy report and reports from D.C. police.

Yarullina had previously told The Washington Post that her son had relapsed using drugs and that she had kicked him out of their home after years of struggles with various schools, psychologists, psychiatrists and drug treatment facilities. She said that she blamed herself for what happened to her son but that she was also hampered by an underfunded and uneven mental health system.