Never, never call the cops unless you are ready for the situation to end with someone shot to death: a bitter lesson learned by James Comstock, whose teen son Tyler was shot to death Monday on the campus of Iowa State University.
James Comstock refused to buy a pack of cigarettes for his 19-year-old son, Tyler, and now he's planning his son's funeral.
"He took off with my truck. I call the police, and they kill him," James Comstock told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday. "It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. I wouldn't buy him none.
"And I lose my son for that."
Comstock said he's outraged police shot and killed his son Monday morning on Iowa State University's campus.
Police began pursuing Tyler Comstock of Boone after his father reported the truck stolen. The truck belonged to a lawn care company.
Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson pursued Comstock into the heart of ISU's campus. During the chase, Comstock rammed McPherson's car. The truck eventually stopped, but Comstock revved the engine and refused orders to turn it off.
McPherson fired six shots into the truck. Comstock died from two gunshot wounds, according to the Iowa state medical examiner's office.
James Comstock said his son was not carrying a weapon.
During the chase, an unidentified Ames police staffer twice suggested that police back off their pursuit, according to dispatch audio obtained by the Register through a third-party service. Audio: Listen to dispatchers and officers during the pursuit
The audio linked to above is illuminating; the police knew from their own audio that it was a family dispute leading to a kid grabbing dad's truck, not a car theft desperado on the loose.
Undoubtedly, a more sensible person would not have done what Comstock did—assuming the officer's story is true, he does say on police audio that Comstock "backed up into my vehicle."
A voice of reason on the police channel points out, hey, if Comstock is being that reckless in regard to police attempts to stop him, maybe the safest thing to do is back off. "We know the suspect," the voice points out. "We can probably back it off."
Regardless, the use of lethal force on someone for cop-defiance and traffic violations should, to put it mildly, happen less often.
UPDATE: Dashcam video of the chase; showing Comstock ramming a cop car and running a red light and speeding, then going offroad and ramming a cop car again. Another cop car rams him a lot, and then the shooting alas happens in the last moment off camera, so what threat Comstock actually presented to officer or citizen life at the time the trigger was pulled still not clear. [Hat tip to Jake "Grey Ghost" on that footage link.]