ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis County prosecutors announced Tuesday they will not issue charges in the shooting death of Terry Tillman.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell told reporters Tuesday charges would not be filed in the case, which his office had been investigating for more than a year.
The 23-year-old was killed after running away from a Richmond Heights officer near the Galleria Mall in late August of 2019.
According to a release from the prosecutor's office:
"Video evidence demonstrates that on August 31, 2019, Mr. Tillman walked through the Galleria Mall with a high-capacity extended magazine visible in his right waistband. It is not permissible to carry guns in the mall. When two police officers approached Mr. Tillman about his unauthorized weapon, they had a brief conversation that ended when Mr. Tillman fled, running with the gun in his hand."
According to authorities, officers called repeatedly for Tillman to stop and drop his gun.
Eventually, they ended up in a bank parking lot, where officers say Tillman ran up a staircase.
When one officer chased after him, "Mr. Tillman, who had briefly been out of the officer’s line of sight, ran down the stairway directly toward the officer. Video footage shows Mr. Tillman holding the gun and moving within five feet of the officer," the release said. "As Mr. Tillman ran toward the officer, the officer shot him multiple times. The officer stopped shooting when Mr. Tillman dropped his gun. Efforts to save his life, which were also caught on video, failed. Mr. Tillman died shortly thereafter and was transported to the hospital."
Family members have said they doubted the police account of what happened, which said Tillman had a gun raised when officers shot him.
Activists also claimed that surveillance video from August 31st shows police planted a gun on Tillman, saying there was a video showing an officer handling a firearm while wearing rubber gloves.
Police refuted that claim, saying the footage was being used "purely for conspiracy claims, to confuse, and to fuel distrust and anger in the St. Louis Community. The integrity of the crime scene is not in question."
Tuesday, reporters were called to a press conference in which no recording was allowed and shown video collected by the prosecutor's office.
In the mall surveillance video, the confrontation with officers was clearly captured, and shows Tillman running off, hitting a clothing rack and dropping his gun.
Another video shows him at a bank across the street from the Galleria, where he's shown holding a black object in his hand. Police say that object was the gun.
Reporters were shown dash cam video from a police car that clearly captured the shooting of Tillman. Officers are also seen in the video recovering a gun immediately after the shooting from Tillman's body.
Bell had previously met with Tillman's family to show them the evidence and explain why charges would not be filed. Bell said they will not release any of the footage, even screenshots, because the family has requested that none of it be shown.
He also said in a release that his office took too long to resolve the case, blaming the delay on the COVID-19 pandemic, though the region was not impacted by coronavirus until March of 2020.
“There is no way to heal the loss of a son, father, brother or friend, and we regret the loss of this young man’s life. But the facts and law in this tragic case do not warrant criminal charges,” Bell said. “We recognize that it took too long to provide answers in this case. The COVID-19 pandemic complicated the process of compiling the video evidence, but that is an explanation, not an excuse. All of us in law enforcement need to work toward providing closure more quickly, even in pandemic conditions and even in complicated cases.”
News 4 has made public records requests for all evidence in the case, including copies of the surveillance footage.