Jan 26, 2022

No charges against KC-area officers who fatally shot suicidal teen

Posted Jan 26, 2022 10:00 AM
Police on the scene of the investigation- photo courtesy KMBC TV
Police on the scene of the investigation- photo courtesy KMBC TV

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — No charges will be filed against police officers who shot and killed an apparently suicidal teenager in Grandview last year, the Jackson County Prosecutor's office said.

The officers shot 17-year-old Lantz Stephenson Jr. several times at a park on May 16 after he pointed a BB gun that looked like a weapon at them, investigators said.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a letter Jan. 7 that the officers’ actions “were within the scope of their legal authority" as Missouri law enforcement officers.

Baker's letter, based in part on an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said Stephenson called police dispatchers to say he had a gun and wanted to get in a “shoot out” with police.

When officers arrived, Stephenson advanced toward them with what looked like a weapon and refused commands to put it down, prompting officers to fire, according to the letter.

Paramedics who arrived after the shooting asked Stephenson if he was attempting suicide and he nodded that he was, the letter said. He later died during surgery at a hospital.