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Body camera video clears officer in shootout

Posted: 4:32 AM, Mar 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-12 04:47:51-05

LUDLOW, Ky.  - A Ludlow police officer has been cleared in a fatal shootout in December because body camera video shows he was fired at first, the commonwealth's attorney said.

Ludlow officer Sam Hodge

The just-released video shows Charles Reynolds shoot Officer Sam Hodge during a traffic stop on Dec. 22, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders.

Hodge, hit in the arm, fired three shots and killed Reynolds, police said.

The video shows Reynolds put his hands behind his back, then open fire. It also shows Hodge hit the ground after firing back.

Reynolds said Hodge did not use excessive force and he would not take the case to a grand jury. He explained his ruling in a letter to Kentucky State Police Det. Jeremy Moore, who investigated the shooting.

"Everything the Ludlow police officer did was fully within the letter of the law," Sanders told WCPO. "Police officers have the same rights to defend themselves from threats to their lives."

The officer is OK. Reynolds' friends told police  he always carried a gun and had a grudge against police, officials said.

The gunfight happened  after Hodge stopped Reynolds outside a Dollar Store on Elm Street about 7:25 p.m.

Hodge had been with Ludlow police for one year but had about 20 years of experience in law enforcement.

Reynolds was shot in the chest.