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Jefferson City

No charges in Jefferson City fatal police shooting

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Jefferson City police officers who shot an armed man to death during a traffic stop last month will not be charged with a crime, Cole County prosecutor Locke Thompson said Tuesday.

Officers shot and killed Clay Willingham of Moberly on June 7 during a stop for expired registration on Truman Boulevard near the Capital Mall. The Jefferson City Police Department said at the time that Willingham showed a rifle but did not listen to the officers' commands to drop the rifle.

JCPD said officers, fearing for their safety, shot Willingham. Willingham had a .22-caliber rifle, Thompson said in a statement Tuesday. JCPD officers are not equipped with body-worn cameras.

"After officers retreated from the vehicle, they drew their weapons and gave Willingham multiple commands to drop the rifle," Thompson said. "Instead, Willingham began turning back toward the officers with the gun raised in a shooting position, at which point the officers, fearing for their safety and the safety of others in the area, opened fire."

The officers acted in "lawful self-defense and defense of others in the area," Thompson said.

It was the second officer-involved shooting in Jefferson City in 2021. On Jan. 3, officers shot and killed a man after he ran at them with a knife at the Wildwood Crossing shopping complex, also on the west side of the city. No charges were filed against the officers involved.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated the shooting.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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