DES MOINES, Iowa (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 in a Thursday news conference that Holmes met with officers from DCI, 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 swerved through traffic, running through red lights at intersections and barely missing cross traffic. At one point, Comstock abruptly stopped and backed up the truck, crashing the trailer into McPherson's patrol car. Comstock then resumed driving at high speed, and the trailer became disconnected.
Once on campus, Comstock drove into a grassy area where two patrol cars attempted to ram the truck. It then rapidly backed through the grass, narrowly missing a pedestrian at one point, the video showed. Once the truck stopped 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 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 told the newspaper he's outraged police shot his son. Other family members told the newspaper police should have backed off the pursuit because they knew who they were chasing.
Comstock did not return a message left Thursday.