Deadly Pine Lawn officer-involved shooting ruled justified - KMOV.com

Deadly Pine Lawn officer-involved shooting ruled justified

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch on Monday announced that the July 5, 2014 fatal shooting involving a Pine Lawn police officer was "justified."

30-year-old Christopher Jones died from a single gunshot wound, according to documents provided by McCulloch's office.

According to police, Pine Lawn officers pulled over Jones' vehicle for speeding at 91 miles per hour on Interstate 70. During the traffic stop, the suspect’s vehicle prematurely left the scene and a chase began. Officers said the chase ended when Jones' vehicle crashed at the junction of Interstate 170 and Interstate 70.

Police said Jones ran from the scene of the accident and the Pine Lawn officer saw an empty pistol holster in Jones' car before chasing him on foot.  The officer eventually caught up to Jones and a struggle began. The officer's failed attempt to subdue Jones with a taser escalated the struggle.

At one point during the struggle, the officer told investigators Jones swung his arm backward, striking the officer in the chest, knocking him backward.

“The suspect said he was going to kill him, and he was reaching into his waistband. That officer is looking as something is going to come out, most likely a gun since he saw those rounds and the empty holster inside the car.” said police.

The officer screamed for him to "show me your hands," according to the documents. Jones continued to bring his arm back to the officer's location, and the officer opened fire, striking Jones in the back of his right arm.

The bullet traveled into Jones' chest cavity, ultimately striking his heart, the autopsy concluded.

No witnesses to the shooting were found, and the officer who fired his weapon was the only officer at the scene at the time of the shooting. The Pine Lawn Police Department does not have body cameras.

The report shows Jones did not have a gun. Autopsy reports indicate that Jones was under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana at the time of the incident.  A search of Jones' car turned up marijuana and scales. Jones also had active warrants and a previous conviction of felony assault on two St. Louis City police officers. 

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