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Officers cleared in deadly Hitt Street parking garage incident in Columbia

Special prosecutor Doug Abele announced Monday morning charges will not be filed against two officers who shot and killed suspect Mark Adair in April in Columbia’s Hitt Street parking garage.

Abele, the Cooper County Prosecutor, says body camera video from the MUPD officer involved in the shooting confirms all of the statements from witnesses.

In a letter written Monday to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Columbia Police and MUPD, Abele determined that a Columbia police officer and a MUPD officer were justified in shooting and killing Adair on April 15, after Adair drew a weapon on the MUPD officer inside the garage. Abele tells ABC 17 News video from the the MUPD officer’s body camera shows Adair drawing a weapon and charging the officer.

On April 15, the 51-year-old Adair was killed inside the garage. Earlier that day, Columbia Police say Adair hid inside a woman’s vehicle at Moser’s Supermarket on Keene. When she arrived back at her vehicle, detectives say Adair displayed a handgun and demanded she drive away. There was a struggle, and the woman was able to escape. Columbia Police and other area law enforcement officers searched for Adair, after the Moser’s incident. The parking garage shooting happened that evening.

Abele tells ABC 17 News two Columbia Police officers saw a man who resembled Adair that night near Shakespeare’s, and that they immediately flagged down the MUPD officer, who followed Adair into the Hitt Street garage. Abele says Adair had approached three females inside the garage, adding that the females described it as an “uncomfortable” conversation.

Abele says as Adair was speaking to the women, the MUPD officer drove up and asked to speak to Adair. The officer also turned his lights on. Abele’s investigation found that Adair removed a weapon from his pocket, pointed it at the officer and charged. Abele wrote that the video “clearly showed that Adair had initiated the deadly struggle.”

Abele says the video shows Adair on top of the MUPD officer, trying to get the officer’s gun. A Columbia police officer arrived in the garage and saw the struggle. Abele says you can hear the Columbia officer firing his weapon twice, striking Adair in the back in the video. The field of view did not show the officers.

Despite being wounded, Adair continued to struggle with the MUPD officer. Abele says the CPD officer fired a third shot, striking Adair in the head. The MUPD officer also fired rounds at Adair.

Abele says the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control conducted a thorough investigation. Abele says he reviewed the Patrol’s reports, autopsy reports conducted by the Boone County Medical Examiner’s office, video/audio recordings, witness statements and the MUPD officer’s body camera footage.

Adair had a lengthy criminal history.

In 1989, Adair pleaded guilty in Boone County to kidnapping and rape and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman David Owen told ABC 17 News this spring that Adair was paroled in 2005, before returning to prison in 2008. Owen says Adair was released again in November 2013, and returned to prison in April 2014. Owen says Adair was paroled again on April 10, five days before the Hitt Street parking garage incident.

The Missouri Department of Corrections declared Adair an absconder and issued a warrant for his arrest on April 14, according to Owen.

The Boone County Circuit Court appointed Doug Abele as Special Prosecutor, after Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight filed a motion requesting a Special Prosecutor. Knight’s motion noted the CPD officer has been involved in more than 900 cases that have been prosecuted by Knight’s office. Knight said in June that the MUPD officer had been involved in more than ten cases that had been prosecuted by his office.

You can see the highway patrol’s entire report and full version of the body camera video footage here.

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