A father in Iowa is mourning the death of his son, which he said could have easily been prevented had local police adequately done their job.
The ordeal began after James Comstock refused to buy his 19-year-old son a pack of cigarettes. In response, Tyler took his father’s truck without permission.
To prove he took the transgression seriously, the elder Comstock called authorities to report the vehicle missing. Ultimately, police located and pursued Tyler to the campus of a nearby college.
What happened next, while still under investigation, resulted in the shooting death of a teenager Comstock said was unarmed.
An officer with the Ames Police Department reported Tyler failed to turn off the vehicle upon orders to do so. A medical examiner’s report shows the officer fired his gun six times, striking Tyler with two of the shots and killing him.
“He took off with my truck,” the distraught father said. “I call the police, and they kill him. It was over a damn pack of cigarettes.”
The young man’s family is now scrambling for answers.
“So he didn’t shut the damn truck off,” said his step-grandfather Gary Shepley, “so let’s fire six rounds at him? We’re confused, and we don’t understand.”
He continued, noting the “professionals” in the department are “trained to handle these situations. And if they panic before they even know what’s going on, then ask yourself, ‘What if it was your child?’”
Though his family concedes Tyler acted inappropriately, they say this incident should not have ended with such an avoidable death. Now, his father must deal with the fact that his attempt to teach his son a lesson ultimately resulted in tragedy.
Law enforcement officers have one of the most stressful jobs in existence. Those in such positions of authority, however, should be held to a higher standard than the general public.
No matter the result of an ensuing investigation into the shooting, this is merely one more case of police intervention making an already bad situation far worse.
–B. Christopher Agee
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