DES MOINES (AP) — The Ames officer who shot and killed a man after a police chase on the Iowa State University campus was cleared of any wrongdoing Thursday by the county prosecutor.
Officer Adam McPherson was justified in using deadly force in shooting Tyler Comstock, 19, said Story County Attorney Stephen Holmes.
“I'm very saddened by this, but I'm also relieved that no one else was injured or killed, especially the officers,” he said.
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent Michael Motsinger said at a press conference Thursday that Holmes met with officers from his agency, Ames police and Iowa State University on Wednesday night to review the investigation.
After seeing the videos and reading the interviews, the conclusion was that McPherson “acted reasonably under very difficult circumstances and officer McPherson's use of deadly force was justified,” Motsinger said.
Ames police spokesman Geoff Huff showed patrol car dashboard videos from McPherson's car and a police car following McPherson.
In them, a white pickup with a trailer can be seen swerving through traffic, running red lights at intersections and barely missing cross traffic.
At one point, Comstock abruptly stops and backs up the truck, crashing the trailer into McPherson's patrol car. Comstock then resumes driving at high speed, and the trailer becomes disconnected.
Once on campus, Comstock drives into a grassy area where the two patrol cars try to ram the truck.
It then rapidly backs through the grass, narrowly missing a pedestrian at one point, the video shows. Once the truck stops against a tree, the video shows McPherson approaching the truck with gun drawn and rapidly firing six shots.
“The suspect had every opportunity to stop the truck and comply with the officers' lawful commands. He chose not to do so,” Huff said. He said McPherson fired into the truck to stop the threat.
An autopsy indicated Comstock was shot twice.
He died Monday at an Ames hospital.
McPherson is on administrative leave and it's unclear when he will return, Huff said.
Tyler Comstock's father, James Comstock, told the Des Moines Register that he refused to buy his son a package of cigarettes, which angered him and started the incident. James Comstock had called police to report the stolen vehicle.
Comstock said he's outraged that police shot his son.
Gary Shepley, Tyler Comstock's step-grandfather, questioned why police didn't back away from the truck as suggested by an officer during the chase.
Tyler Comstock's family says the teenager was not armed. They also say he was trying to get his life back on track.
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