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.
“He took off with my truck. I call the police, and they kill him,” said Comstock’s father, James Comstock, to the The Des Moines Register.
“It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t buy him none. I lose my son for that.”
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.
“He texted me,” said Comstock’s mother, Shari Comstock. “I woke up yesterday morning and had a text from him. He said, ‘Call me when you get up.’ About 11 o’clock, I tried to call him, and there was no answer.”
Her son was pronounced dead at Mary Greeley Medical Center minutes before her call.
“He just wanted a pack of cigarettes, and his dad wouldn’t buy him a pack of cigarettes and he freaked out,” she said.
“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.
Watch video of police chase here.