Authorities are investigating a death where Jefferson City Police Department officers fatally shot another person Monday afternoon.
Pursuant to JCPD policy, an officer-involved shooting is investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control. The department also issued a news release saying it was an ongoing investigation and it was not releasing information on the shooting.
Patrol Cpl. Kyle Green said the shooting happened at 1:45 p.m. between the Capital Mall and the Walgreens drugstore across the street on West Truman Boulevard.
In a news release, Green said JCPD officers were conducting a traffic stop on a Chevrolet Suburban for having expired registration in the 3700 block of West Truman Boulevard.
"Preliminary investigation revealed that after stopping the vehicle, the two officers approached the passenger side of the Chevrolet," Green wrote. "At this time, the driver produced a rifle."
Green said the officers issued verbal commands, instructing the suspect to drop the rifle, but the suspect reportedly ignored them.
"The officers, fearing for their safety, fired their weapons striking the suspect," Green wrote.
The suspect was identified as Clay Willingham, 32, of Moberly. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The officers were not injured.
According to the JCPD policy manual, after such an incident, officers are put on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
An administrative investigation is completed and reviewed by the police chief and then forwarded to the city's law department for review, where the city attorney will document whether the shooting adheres to department regulations regarding use of lethal force.
The officers' division commander will review the completed administrative investigation to determine whether any violation of department regulations occurred, making a recommendation to the police chief for discipline or commendation.
The completed criminal investigation by the patrol will be forwarded to the Cole County prosecuting attorney's office for review. The prosecuting attorney will determine if any criminal action or further investigative action should be taken.
In most cases, the prosecutor in the county where the officer-involved shooting occurred handles the case, but he or she can request a special prosecutor be appointed for the investigation.
Under the JCPD policy manual, if an officer is found to have acted legally, justifiably and properly in the shooting, the officer will return to regular duty or special duty.
If an officer is found to have acted improperly and without legal justification in the shooting, the officer will either be suspended without pay pending the final outcome of any criminal proceedings, or may be terminated.
This is the third time since April 2020 JCPD officers have been involved in a fatal shooting while responding to an emergency call.
No charges were filed against officers for the death of James Reising, 59, after he was fatally shot in January.
JCPD officers responded Jan. 3 to the Wildwood Crossings Shopping Center for a disturbance, according to authorities. Upon arriving, officers contacted Reising, who they reported as being "extremely agitated and holding a knife while standing near his vehicle."
"While officers attempted to de-escalate the situation, Reising gripped the knife in an overhand position and charged at officers with the knife held over his head," Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson said. "Officers fired at Reising and then immediately began attempting life-saving measures until an ambulance arrived. Reising was later pronounced dead at St. Mary's Hospital. A subsequent search of Reising's vehicle revealed evidence of methamphetamine and alcohol use."
Thompson said he determined after a review of the highway patrol investigative file the officers involved acted appropriately in self-defense and in defense of others.
Thompson also found that officers should not be charged after an officer-involved shooting April 15, 2020, that left one person dead and wounded one of the officers. This was after he reviewed patrol investigative reports that he said showed "the actions of officers that evening were lawful and appropriate under the circumstances."
This began as officers were attempting to locate a vehicle in connection with earlier weapons violations seen near West McCarty and Hughes streets.
The officers attempted a traffic stop, but the driver — Jamie Williams, 27, of Jefferson City — failed to yield.
A pursuit began near West McCarty and Hughes streets and traveled through the city — to McCarty Street, Industrial Boulevard, Bolivar Street, Berry Street, Hart Street, West Miller Street, Brooks Street, U.S. 54 West, Madison Street, Stadium Boulevard, Monroe Street, Hickory Street and Jackson Street. Speeds allegedly reached as high as 70 mph.
Authorities said Williams stopped in the area of East Atchison and Jackson streets near Community Park, and he and his passenger — Anthony Wilson, 28, of Jefferson City — fled on foot.
The patrol's probable cause statement indicates the pursuing officers followed the suspects into a wooded area, and a struggle ensued between Wilson and one of the officers.
During the struggle, Wilson produced a concealed handgun and fired two rounds at one of the officers. That officer was struck in the chest by the gunfire while the second officer returned fire, fatally striking Wilson in the torso.
Authorities said the officer who was shot was wearing a ballistic vest at the time of the shooting.
Williams hid in the wooded area. A perimeter was created, and additional officers, including one of JCPD's K-9 teams, responded.
With the assistance of a highway patrol helicopter, Williams was found and taken into custody.
Authorities said Wilson and Williams were on federal supervised release, sometimes called special or mandatory parole, for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Authorities also said the weapon used by Wilson was found to have been stolen in a December 2019 burglary in Jefferson City. Wilson was also reportedly being sought for his role in several calls received April 14, 2020, about shots fired around the city.
Members of the highway patrol and an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives interviewed Williams, according to the patrol's probable cause statement. Williams allegedly admitted to driving the vehicle and fleeing from officers and reportedly identified Wilson as his passenger.
Williams was charged with second-degree murder, resisting arrest, driving while revoked and possession of a controlled substance. His case is scheduled to come before Cole County Judge Dan Green at the end of July.
A second-degree felony murder charge can be filed against a person because they were present when the shooting occurred, even though they may not have pulled the trigger, Thompson said.
In both of these cases, the officers involved in the incidents were not named by JCPD, nor were they named by the state patrol.