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New dashcam video shows last moments before deadly Columbia police shooting at apartment


ABC 17 News has obtained new dashcam video from the Columbia Police Department capturing the last moments before Marquis Rivera, who reported being suicidal, was fatally shot by police last August.

The video begins with a Columbia police vehicle stopped at a red light at the Business Loop 70 and Range Line Street intersection. The officers then turn onto the Business Loop, heading towards The Landing, a complex on Campusview Drive in south Columbia.

About 5 minutes later, the officer arrived at the scene. The video shows Marquis Rivera wearing brightly colored shorts and a grey sweatshirt with the hood up while Columbia police officers stood with guns drawn, pointing toward Rivera. There is a good amount of distance between Rivera and the responding officers.

One of the officers appears to be speaking with Rivera, however, the audio of that conversation was not captured by the dashcam. Rivera can be seen moving his arms, pointing towards a building at the complex. Another officer then stages himself with a gun drawn behind a red car, adjacent to the other two officers, pointed at Rivera.

Rivera begins to pace back and forth, reaches inside of his sweatshirt pocket and inhales and exhales vapor from some sort of e-cigarette device. As he paces, an object can be seen in Rivera's right hand, however, the video is not clear enough to tell what it is.

The conversation between Rivera and a Columbia police officer continues. About 8 minutes into the video, another officer is seen drawing a gun toward Rivera farther back from the other officers. The patrol vehicle's police scanner can be heard in the background, with the command "armed and ready" being said.

Nine minutes into the video, Rivera is seen pointing an object, that appears to be a gun, at the officers, when gunfire erupts. At least five gunshots can be heard.

Rivera is seen falling to the ground on his back. At least eight officers begin running toward Rivera saying "stay where you are, do not move." The first officer reaches Rivera's body and kicks away the object Rivera was holding.

The officers flip Rivera over and appear to start giving him medical attention. Some officers stay by Rivera's side while others begin searching the nearby buildings and around the apartment complex. An officer can be heard over the police vehicle's radio saying "gunshot wound to the mouth"

A K-9 and an officer can be seen waving the driver of the police vehicle -- where the dash camera video is located -- to move over. Just under 11 minutes into the video, the police vehicle moves and the scene is no longer visible from the dash camera. Police lights continue to flash on a nearby apartment.

Thirteen minutes into the footage, an MU Health Care ambulance can be seen heading toward Rivera in the reflection of a neighbor's window. A minute later, an officer can be seen putting crime tape up around the police car and the area where the shooting took place.

Police were called twice to the apartment for reports of a suicidal man.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol -- which investigated the shooting -- provided bodycam video of two officers' first encounter with Rivera. In the video, Officers Andrew Gilstrap and George Chiang counsel Rivera and try to get him psychological help, which he refuses. They leave and Rivera stays at the apartment.

Rivera's family hired Andrew Stroth of Action Injury Law Group to do an independent investigation into the shooting and asked to see the body camera footage from officers.

"Marquis was experiencing a mental health crisis and called the police for help. Instead of helping this young man, the officers shot and killed Marquis," Stroth said on Aug. 7.

ABC 17 News spoke with the Rivera family Monday, who said they had seen the body camera footage and dash camera footage from that day. Ralph Edwards, Rivera's father, said the officers could have done more.

"The first call when he cried out for help, there were so many gray areas and negligence on the part of the police department, even him verbally stating multiple times that he was going to help my son," Edwards said. "If they were to do anything from a humanity point of view, I mean, our son would still be alive."

"There's a lot of young adults there that are going through a lot of stuff mentally and who can they call knowing that the police do not care enough to help them get out of that situation? And that's a really big problem. That's very dangerous," Rivera's sister, Katiana Edwards, said.

"It's just sad knowing that some people are not able to get the help that they reach out for and it's very hard for somebody that is going through a mental health crisis to even reach out for help, it takes a lot from people that are going through that," Katiana Edwards said.

The family said they are moving forward with a lawsuit against the department and have set up a GoFundMe page to help with legal fees and a private investigator.

MSHP investigated the shooting. Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Miller was chosen as a special prosecutor over the investigation and didn't file charges against the officers.

Attorney Donald Weaver represented the officers during the investigation. He said people can only help others, if they accept the help. He also said when a person shoots at an officer, police will shoot back.

"It's really easy sometimes, for some reason, for people to second-guess officers who maybe had 20 seconds or 20 minutes interacting with that person. But these people (the officers) have had 20 years working with these people," Weaver said. "We have to take information with a grain of salt and realize that sometimes people are trying to fatten their own pockets of the backs of the taxpayers by laying blame at officers who are really just trying to do the right thing and protect their community," he said.

According to previous reporting, police say Rivera first shot into the air and then at officers. The MSHP report named five officers involved: Dalton Alvey, Andrew Gilstrap, George Chiang, Ethan Wild and Kaleb Baillargen. Miller wrote in his decision in February that Rivera shot a handgun eight-to-10 times in the air and at officers. He also wrote that shots hit the officers’ patrol cars.

The MSHP report includes entries that state damage was sustained to patrol vehicles and a shell casing was found near a police vehicle.

Article Topic Follows: ABC 17 News Investigates
columbia police department
officer involved shooting

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