Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • State review sought in police shooting probe

  •   A prosecutor has asked the state to review an unpublished report about a fatal shooting involving two police officers last fall in Louisiana.


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  • A prosecutor has asked the state to review an unpublished report about a fatal shooting involving two police officers last fall in Louisiana.
    Pike County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Fisher said Tuesday that he made the request of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office to avoid a conflict of interest.
    Two Louisiana officers fired upon a pickup driven by 39-year-old Timothy S. Chrisman of Vandalia after a high-speed chase on Oct. 30. Chrisman died at the scene.
    The attorney general’s office will decide whether there was any criminal responsibility in the case.
    Fisher declined to comment on the length of the report or its contents.
    Fisher said he had “dealt with (Chrisman) in various capacities in the past,” including as a crime victim. He also had worked on other cases with the officers involved.
    “There could be an appearance of a conflict,” Fisher said. “The ethical (guidelines) demand that I not be involved in anything that could be an appearance of conflict.”
    A spokesman for the attorney general’s office did not immediately return a late-afternoon request for an interview Tuesday.
    Lt. Phil Gregory, who oversees the Missouri Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control unit that investigated the shooting, said Tuesday that the case was “an open investigation” and that it was “not appropriate” for him to comment specifically about it.
    “Our job is to investigate the incident and report the facts,” Gregory said. “It’s up to someone else to make the determination whether criminal charges are warranted or if it’s a justifiable shooting.”
    Chrisman’s parents, Ronald and Becky Chrisman, referred questions to their lawyer, David Ferman, a former Louisiana city attorney. He was not available for comment Tuesday.
    Pike County Coroner Jim Turner told the Courier-Post that autopsy and toxicology reports had been completed and that the results were turned over to Fisher. He declined to discuss details.
    “I’m not at liberty to release any of that,” Turner said Tuesday, citing the ongoing probe.
    Local media attributed to Turner comments that there were drugs in Chrisman’s system the night of the incident, but Turner declined to elaborate.
    Earlier this month, before the Highway Patrol report was completed, Louisiana Police Chief Rich Hughes had said an investigator told him he “didn’t see anything of a criminal nature” in the case. Hughes was not available for comment Tuesday.
    Chrisman’s family sought an independent autopsy and was considering a civil lawsuit.
    Both of the unnamed officers were put on paid administrative leave after the incident. They must clear medical tests and department protocols before returning to full duties, Hughes has previously said.
    The department has five other officers in addition to Hughes and the two on leave, and has used auxiliary personnel to fill in shifts.
    Page 2 of 2 - A makeshift memorial to Chrisman has been built at the corner of 14th and North Carolina, where the shooting occurred.
    The Highway Patrol reported at the scene the night of the incident that Louisiana police got a call the evening of Oct. 30 about a careless driver who possibly was intoxicated. A Louisiana officer spotted the vehicle and tried to stop it.
    A pursuit ensued, with the two Louisiana officers and a Pike County Sheriff’s Department deputy giving chase.
    The Highway Patrol reported the pickup rounded the corner at 14th and North Carolina and struck a fence on the north side of the street.
    Officers and the deputy got out of their cars and tried to arrest the suspect, but the pickup driver put it in reverse and struck two squad cars and then struck one of the officers and the deputy, according to the patrol.
    The two officers believed they were in danger and fired upon the vehicle, the patrol said. The driver then apparently put the truck in forward, spun around and drove south across the foundation of the old Louisiana Foundry.
    The truck came to rest in a woods at the south end of the foundry property near the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks.
    Authorities have not said how many shots struck Chrisman. A patrol spokesman at the scene said he was not told of any comment the suspect may have made to authorities.
    The officers and the deputy went to Pike County Memorial Hospital for treatment as a precaution.
    The patrol spokesman, Lt. Robert Wolf, said at the scene that authorities’ response to the incident was proper.

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