The police officer who shot an unarmed Iowa 19-year-old in the head and chest after the youth led police on a wild chase in a lawn-care truck has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the prosecutor in charge of the case.
Story County Attorney Stephen Holmes exonerated Officer Adam McPherson, an eight-year veteran of the Ames, Iowa, police Department, after viewing a police dashboard camera video showing the pickup truck driven by Tyler Comstock barreling through streets, backing up and ramming an cop car, and careening recklessly across a lawn on the Iowa State University campus.
The video is viewable below.
The incident gained national attention last week due to the heart-wrenching circumstances that led to the killing. See the Opposing Views coverage here.
Comstock (pictured) stole the vehicle from his father, with whom he’d been working at a job site after they argued over cigarette money. James Comstock called the police on his own son.
When cops tried to stop Comstock, the teen took off.
His family says that Comstock had problems controlling his anger, but was recently getting his life together. He had been living in a homeless shelter at the time of his death. The shelter’s manager said that Comstock showed no sign of trouble before leaving to meet his father.
"I seen him the night before. The night before he was calm," Gerald Elliott of All for Jesus Homeless Shelter told KCCI TV News. "We'd all seen him, you know, just before he left we had all seen him and knowing he was just going to work with his dad. You know you don't expect something like that."
“It is my conclusion that Officer McPherson acted reasonably under very difficult circumstances and McPherson's use of deadly force was justified," said Holmes in his report. "In watching the videos I can't help but express my concern that it was only by sheer luck that no one else was seriously injured or killed by Mr. Comstock.”
"They felt threatened,” said Ames Police Spokesperson Cmdr. Geoff Huff, referring to the officers involved in the chase. “We had police cars that were rammed by the suspect. We made a number of attempts to stop the suspect that were unsuccessful and I think there was a fear that other people were, you know, in danger at that point.”