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Fatal shooting by St. Louis police was justified, federal investigation says

Fatal shooting by St. Louis police was justified, federal investigation says

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ST. LOUIS • A federal investigation requested by Police Chief Sam Dotson concluded that officers were justified in using deadly force when they killed Cary Ball, 25, in a confrontation near the Edward Jones Dome, authorities said Wednesday.

Ball, 25, was shot April 24, 2013, after he crashed a car at Cole and Ninth streets at the end of a police pursuit. Officers shot him 21 times. Nobody else was hurt.

Multiple witness accounts differed from each other and from the officers’ versions. The officers said Ball pointed a .40-caliber Glock handgun at them but did not fire.

“Bottom line, it was reviewed by the FBI and our office and the conclusion is that there was no basis for criminal charges,” U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said.

The police internal investigation concluded in November that the officers were justified. But the conflicting reports prompted Dotson to make the rare move of requesting an FBI review. No civilian witnesses reported seeing Ball aim a gun at police; at least one said Ball was tossing the weapon away when he was shot.

Callahan would not disclose details but said “the number and extent of conflicting witness statements was well beyond what you normally encounter.”

Relatives described Ball as an educated man with a promising career in social work who would never have threatened police.

The incident happened after Ball finished a shift in the laundry at Mercy Medical Center St. Louis, in Creve Coeur, and was giving a co-worker a ride.

Police tried to stop Ball’s car at 18th Street and Delmar Boulevard on a traffic violation. They said he hit several parked cars near Ninth and Cole, stopped and ran.

Officers Jason Chambers and Timothy Boyce said in police reports they saw Ball clutch his waistband as he ran. One said he saw Ball pull the weapon and point it at them, the other said he saw the gun in Ball’s right hand when he turned toward them. One officer fired 12 shots, the other 16.

A pending wrongful-death suit filed by Ball’s family seeks unspecified damages from the officers, department and others.

Dotson said the FBI investigation validated the department’s internal investigation and officers’ actions and training.

“The family still had questions,” Dotson said. “I wanted to make sure the department was above reproach. I know it may have been unpopular among some of our police officers ... I wanted to make sure that the community had confidence in them.”

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