Deputy’s shooting justified

Investigation into Palermo man’s death clears deputy

A Butte County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man from Palermo last May was justified, District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced at a press conference Tuesday (Oct. 21).

On May 18, the family of Cory Lee Bush called the Butte County Sheriff’s Office to report that the 24-year-old man was having a mental breakdown and planned to commit suicide by forcing police to kill him. When deputies arrived, Bush allegedly pointed a pellet rifle at deputy Benjamin Cornelius’ face—though family members have maintained otherwise—and Cornelius subsequently shot Bush three times.

An autopsy indicated Bush had a high level of methamphetamine in his system. He had also just been arrested for heroin possession and was facing up to 33 months in prison. In a letter to Sheriff Kory Honea, Ramsey wrote: “All evidence in this case points to another unfortunate incidence of ‘suicide by cop’ by a subject intent on forcing the responding deputies into killing him.”