When James Comstock refused to buy his 19-year-old son a pack of cigarettes, the teenager took off with his dad’s truck. In an attempt to teach his son a lesson, Comstock called the police and reported his vehicle stolen.
The attempted lesson ended with police fatally shooting the man’s son, Tyler, on the Iowa State University campus.
The father is now outraged and confused as to why police were so quick to use deadly force.
“He took off with my truck. I call the police, and they kill him. It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t buy him none,” Comstock told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday. “And I lose my son for that.”
Police reportedly began pursuing Tyler shortly after Comstock reported the vehicle stolen. The truck belongs to a lawn care company.
As Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson followed Tyler onto the ISU campus, the 19-year-old allegedly rammed McPherson’s car. The truck was eventually stopped, though police say Tyler revved the engine and refused orders to turn off the car.
McPherson then fired six shots into the truck, hitting the teen twice and killing him, according to the Iowa state medical examiner’s office.
Comstock told The Des Moines Register that his son was not armed.
Tyler’s step-grandfather, Gary Shepley, 65, was also angry over police’s handling of the incident, demanding that “hard tough questions” be asked of the department.
“So he didn’t shut the damn truck off, so let’s fire six rounds at him? We’re confused, and we don’t understand,” Shepley said, adding that the police could have backed off the pursuit.
“They’re professionals. They’re 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?” he added.
More from the report:
During the chase, an unidentified Ames police staffer twice suggested that police back off their pursuit, according to dispatch audio obtained by the Register through a third-party service. Audio: Listen to dispatchers and officers during the pursuit
Tyler Comstock’s family said Tyler had made mistakes, but he was taking steps to get his life back on track.
Comstock had recently broken up with his girlfriend and was bouncing from house to house in Boone. He had spent several days in jail because of a disorderly conduct charge, the family said.
But for two weeks, his family said, Comstock had been attending a daily Bible study in Boone. He was seeing his father daily.
Listen to the dispatch audio referenced above via The Des Moines Register:
(H/T: Daily Mail)