Authorities announced today that an officer was justified in his use of deadly force during a controversial police pursuit that ended with the death of 19-year-old Tyler Comstock on the Iowa State University campus.
A statement released by the Story County Attorney’s Office says that “it was only be sheer luck that no one else was seriously injured or killed by Mr. Comstock.” The pursuit took place mid-morning on November 4.
Story County Attorney Stephen Holmes noted that “Comstock’s actions did not allow any amount of time for the officers to devise or employ other ‘means’ to mitigate or defuse the situation ahead of the shooting.”
In the dashboard camera footage taken from Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson’s patrol vehicle, Comstock is seen striking multiple police vehicles throughout the high speed pursuit, which ended with McPherson firing seven shots at his vehicle, two of which struck Comstock. He was pronounced dead after being taken to Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames. Comstock’s vehicle was still running at the time of the shooting, which occurred seconds after he had again backed his truck into McPherson’s vehicle. The final moments of the pursuit took place near several trees in a grassy area of the Iowa State University campus.
“It appears these officers were placed in an impossible situation beginning with Comstock’s first assault when he used the trailer as a battering ram against McPherson’s patrol vehicle,” the report says.
Authorities say the pursuit began after Comstock’s father called police to report that his upset son had taken his truck. The report came in as a “stolen motor vehicle” to Ames police officers, according to the Story County Attorney’s Office.
“Whatever Mr. Comstock’s state of mind was at the time does not diminish the threat and danger to the public and does not diminish the threat and danger to the responding officers McPherson and Atilano on that day,” the report says.
Read the full report here.