James Comstock refused to buy a pack of cigarettes for his 19-year-old son, Tyler, and now he’s planning his son’s funeral.
“He took off with my truck. I call the police, and they kill him,” James Comstock told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday. “It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t buy him none.
“And I lose my son for that.”
Comstock said he’s outraged police shot and killed his son Monday morning on Iowa State University’s campus.
Police began pursuing Tyler Comstock of Boone after his father reported the truck stolen. The truck belonged to a lawn care company.
Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson pursued Comstock into the heart of ISU’s campus. During the chase, Comstock rammed McPherson’s car. The truck eventually stopped, but Comstock revved the engine and refused orders to turn it off.
McPherson fired six shots into the truck. Comstock died from two gunshot wounds, according to the Iowa state medical examiner’s office.
James Comstock said his son was not carrying a weapon.
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 step-grandfather, Gary Shepley, 65, of Cambridge, said “hard, tough questions” need to be asked about the police’s actions.
Shepley said he keeps asking himself why police pursued an easily identifiable green-and-white lawn care truck into a busy part of campus. The family said police could have backed off and found the truck later.
“They’re professionals,” Shepley said. “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?”
And why, Shepley asked, did an officer fire six rounds on a campus with innocent bystanders around, simply because Tyler Comstock refused orders to turn off the engine?
“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.