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Body cam shows officers shoot, kill 17-year-old driver

By Kelsee Ward

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    O’FALLON, Missouri (KMOV) — St. Charles County Police Department released a video providing an in-depth breakdown after a young man was shot and killed in O’Fallon, Mo.

Police said officers approached a vehicle around 11 a.m. on Jan. 23 after getting a call that two 17-year-olds were sleeping inside their silver car in the 500 block of Prentice Drive in O’Fallon, Missouri blocking a resident’s driveway. After being dispatched to the home, police asked the driver to open the doors but they refused. Police said one of the officers saw a gun inside the car. Body camera caught the officer breaking the driver’s side window with his gun before the driver sped off.

Video captured the officers firing several shots at the silver car. Police said the crashed car was found near Mexico Road and Aspen Pointe Drive.

The 17-year-old driver was struck by gunfire and was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. No officers were injured in the incident.

A passenger in the vehicle was taken into custody. Police said the driver’s gun and vehicle were reported stolen out of St. Louis County.

Both officers were placed on administrative following the incident until the investigation is was concluded, which is part of department policy.

Today, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar held a press conference to explain his office’s decision not to press any charges against the two officers in this incident.

“I could say that what I saw in the video and what anybody who sees the video would probably say along with me, is it’s disturbing. I don’t like what I saw. Knowing the results of course it makes it even all that much more tragic,” said St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar. “I’ve never been a police officer, although I work closely with them. I know that in many circumstances, this being a prime example, they have a split second to make a determination about what the next move is.”

He says in this instance, the officers were justified in using force because they had a reasonable belief that they were in danger if they did not take action.

“We believe that the shooting was in fact justified,” said Lohmar “The officers had the legal right to use lethal force and tragically that lethal force led to the loss of life of a young man.”

L:ohmar says he knows people are going to question the contents of the video, but he also says that it is important to know not everything the officers experience in the moment during an incident like this is captured easily through body cameras.

“They just don’t have the luxury of time to evaluate and retreat, consider their options. you hope their training takes over, and hopefully it does,” he said.

This is the first critical incident video ever released by the St. Charles County Police Department. Lohmar says the public can expect similar videos in the future, whenever an incident like this occurs.

“It creates open communication and the feeling among the community for the most part that they’re not trying to hide anything. they’re trying to show you what they looked and what their officers were doing when they made the decision that they made.”

The St. Charles County Police Department tells News 4 their department is currently in the process of developing a policy on how critical incident videos will be released moving forward.

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