Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Ronald R. Holliday announced Friday that no criminal charges will be filed in the fatal officer-involved shooting death of Christopher L. Kelly last year.
As previously reported, the shooting occurred on December 29, 2018, at 1007 S. 12th Street in St. Joseph. The St. Joseph Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting were Officers Brett Sagel and Matthew Kneib.
According to a press release from the Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Special Division of Drug and Crime Control, conducted the investigation at the request of the St. Joseph Police Department.
The investigation disclosed that the officers went to the residence initially to attempt to locate an individual in reference to an outstanding warrant. The officers went to the front door of the residence, knocked, and received no response. An officer went to the rear of the residence and located a white Hyundai Sonata vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Pleasant Valley, Missouri. A neighbor told police the vehicle in the rear of the residence was not a vehicle normally seen at the residence. Officers at the scene observed in plain view holsters, ammunition, and masks inside the stolen Hyundai. The rear of the residence was unsecured and the officers entered the residence through the back door to check the welfare of the residents. The officers loudly announced their presence and advised any occupants of the residence to identify their location but received no response.
The press release goes on to say that as the officers systematically searched the residence, they entered a bedroom in the northwest corner of the residence. They observed Kelly standing in the closet of the bedroom. At the same time the officers observed a second person in the closet who immediately surrendered to the officers. Additional officers then entered the northwest bedroom. Kelly was instructed to show his hands to the officers but he verbally refused. The officers then observed a firearm in his right hand. He was told to drop the weapon and refused. A taser was then deployed striking Kelly. However, the Taser had no effect on him. He then raised the pistol and pointed it at the officers and both officers then discharged their firearms at Kelly, striking him multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A Phoenix Arms Model HP22A, .22 caliber pistol, loaded with 6 live rounds, was recovered from the possession of Kelly. A toxicology screen during his autopsy revealed Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in his blood.
The press release concludes: “A law enforcement officer is allowed to use deadly force if that officer has a reasonable belief that the use of such force is necessary to protect himself or another from serious physical injury or death… the use of deadly force by both officers in this case was permissible and not unreasonable and as a result, will not be the basis for any criminal charge allegations.”