UPDATE: Linn Co. Attorney: Officer justified in shooting teen at - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Linn Co. Attorney: Officer justified in shooting teen at auto parts store

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - The Linn County Attorney's Office says a Cedar Rapids police officer was justified in shooting a 17-year-old at an auto parts store in September.

According to the official report, Officer Zach McKinstry was sent to Advanced Auto Parts at 3980 Center Point Road NE in Cedar Rapids just after 7 a.m. on September 21, 2013 after witnesses inside the Spring House Restaurant saw someone damaging a vehicle in the parking lot of the store.

When an employee of the store, Bradley Rosch, heard a commotion outside, he looked to find the teen, later identified as Matthew Johnson, leaning on his car. Rosch approached Johnson and asked him if he was alright. Rosch told police Johnson replied with a string of profanities and chased him.

The report says when Rosch retreated back to the store, Johnson followed him, kicking in the glass of the first set of doors to enter the store. Rosch then went through the second set of doors and locked them, but Johnson kicked in the glass again and chased Rosch into the store.

The report says Officer McKinstry arrived at 7:07 a.m., unholstered his weapon and entered the store. Once inside, McKinstry found Johnson trying to attack Rosch who was hiding behind a display.

According to the report, McKinstry then drew his weapon and ordered Johnson to the ground several times, but Johnson instead turned around and began approaching McKinstry saying, "Oh, you're gonna pull a gun on me." McKinstry then told Johnson several times "Stop or I'll shoot."

The report says Johnson continued moving toward McKinstry will making secretive movements around the waist of his clothing.

At that point, McKinstry said he fired three shots at Johnson because he was fearful for his life.

Officer Justin Boecker arrived as the shots were fired and called for an ambulance before entering the store and helping McKinstry give medical assistance to Johnson who was shot in his lower left chest, left forearm and left thumb. The report says Johnson stated several times, "Kill me, just kill me", as the officers were helping him.

The report says Johnson appeared restless, uncooperative and combative when the ambulance arrived and he was spitting at members of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department who were trying to help him.

Johnson denied using any drugs or alcohol, but testing showed he had a BAC of .255 and tested positive for THC. He was taken to St. Luke's Hospital and was discharged on September 30.

When interviewed by investigators, Johnson claimed to have no recollection of his encounter with Rosch or McKinstry and didn't remember being shot.

Police learned Johnson was at two parties before showing up at the auto parts store. The report says Johnson was drinking whiskey and beer and may have smoked marijuana. They say he was kicked out of the second party just before 7 a.m. after assaulting one person and threatening others. The report says the second party was near the auto parts store.

Linn County attorney Jerry VanderSanden says after reviewing the details and circumstances, Officer McKinstry was justified in believing his safety was in danger and was therefore justified in using deadly force.

VanderSanden says criminal charges against McKinstry are "not warranted."


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