Prosecutor: Officers' deadly force in October shooting justified

10 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago Friday, October 27 2017 Oct 27, 2017 Friday, October 27, 2017 11:10:00 AM CDT October 27, 2017 in News
By: Kristen Reesor, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - An investigation has found two Jefferson City police officers' fatal shooting of a man coming at them with a pipe was justified.

Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Richardson released a report Friday on the officer-involved shooting of John Loaiza from Oct. 3. The report said Officer Thomas Whitener and Sgt. Dan Ervine had to shoot Loiaza to defend themselves from death or injury. The prosecuting attorney states the officers feared for their lives because of Loaiza's threats and actions.

The report spelled out the sequence of events that night:

Two officers responded to an apartment complex on East Dunklin Street for a domestic assault call. When they arrived, they heard the sound of a gun being racked and Loaiza yell from upstairs, "Do you want to die?" They also saw items thrown down the stairs. 

The two officers then left the house and called for backup. Loaiza then broke a window of the building and repeatedly told police to shoot him. He then left the building and moved "aggressively towards officers while waving a metal pipe." 

Officers ordered him to drop the weapon, but he continued coming toward them in a "violent and threatening manner." Both officers fired at Loaiza, and six bullets struck him. Officers preformed CPR, but Loaiza died at the hospital.

The police department took Whitener and Ervine's weapons when they returned to the station later on Oct. 3. The Missouri State Highway Patrol began investigating soon after; investigators interviewed both officers on Oct. 4.

The report went on to say local law enforcement agencies recognized in Loaiza "a pattern of mental instability and threats against law enforcement." Previous encounters with him included threats of "suicide by cop" and statements of his intention to kill officers.

Loaiza made threats and came at officers with a metal baseball bat during another domestic disturbance call in June. The victim in the June and October domestic assault calls was a woman who said Loaiza had beaten her about 45 times.

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