Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department, and Howie Lake II, a three-year veteran, both white men, were placed on paid administrative leave after their fatal shooting of Sterling last summer outside of a convenience store on July 5, 2016.
According to Baton Rouge police, the two officers responded to a disturbance call from someone who said a black man selling CDs threatened him with a gun. When officers approached Sterling in the parking lot of the convenience store, "an altercation between Sterling and officers ensued," said police.
According to the affidavit for a search warrant for a surveillance video recorder at the convenience store, "while the officers were attempting to subdue" Sterling, they "observed the butt of a gun in the subject's front pants pocket."
"When the subject attempted to reach for the gun from his pocket, the officers fired their police-issued duty weapon at the subject to stop the threat," the document reads.
Sterling was shot several times and died at the scene, police said. The coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish said Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and back.
In the immediate aftermath, Sterling's death sparked protests in Baton Rouge.
Sterling's aunt Sandra Sterling called the Justice Department's reported decision "crazy."
"It’s like, we waited all this time for nothing," she said. "And as we were going through the process, I kept asking them, 'What happens if they come back with this decision?' ... They said, 'Well, it will be worth the wait.' But no, it’s not worth the wait. It’s not worth the wait. All this was for nothing.”
Sterling's aunt added, “It hurt, it hurt, it hurts so bad. I was trying to prepare myself for this, but I’m telling you, it’s a horrible pain. It’s like going back to the first day. It’s like going back to the first day all over again.”
ABC News' Mike Levine contributed to this report.