FBI will look into Columbia shooting
Saturday, November 2, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The FBI will review the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old mid-Missouri man, a federal official said Friday.
The NAACP office in Columbia asked the U.S. Justice Department for an investigation last month after Boone County prosecutor Dan Knight announced that no charges would be filed, ruling there wasn’t evidence that the shooter committed a crime.
Brandon Coleman’s mother, Winona Coleman-Broadus, believes racial prejudice played a role in the crime. Coleman was black, the shooter is white.
“It’s all racially motivated,” she said Friday. “Why is this not being treated as a hate crime?”
Don Ledford, spokesman for Tammy Dickinson, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City are all looking into the case.
“We’re reviewing it to determine if there’s a federal interest or a federal jurisdiction here,” Ledford said. “We’re not reviewing it to second-guess the Boone County prosecutor’s decision.”
Coleman, a groundskeeper at the University of Missouri, was killed May 19 following a confrontation outside the shooter’s home in Columbia. A statement released by Knight on Oct. 23 indicated that the shooter’s father brandished a large knife and Coleman pointed a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun at the older man.
Knight determined that the shooter fired at Coleman out of fear that his father would be shot. Coleman died of blood loss after suffering three gunshot wounds.
Knight said he based his decision on evidence that included police reports, visits to the scene of the shooting and witness statements.
Coleman-Broadus said her son was defending himself by pointing the gun at a man who she said waved the knife at him twice. Knight, in his statement, said Coleman “was an initial aggressor in the confrontation” and was not acting in self-defense or defense of others when he displayed his gun.
Knight’s statement said comments about race were exchanged prior to the shooting.
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