Shootings by deputy reviewed

Friday, November 18, 2005

TROY, Mo. -- Attorney General Jay Nixon's office is reviewing a report by the Missouri State Highway Patrol into the deaths of two men shot by a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy. No time frame has been determined for when the attorney general's office might make a determination on the report, and the office could not say what issues it will examine while the review is continuing, said spokesman Jim Gardner on Thursday.

A lawyer for the deputy, Joe McCulloch, said he thinks authorities will determine the officer had reason to fear for his safety when he shot the two men.

The deputy has not been publicly identified.

The two men killed were Michael Brown, 23, of Troy, and Tyler Teasley, 22, of Silex. They and four other people were seated in Teasley's extended-cab pickup truck the night of Oct. 23 when the deputy fired shots through the truck's rear window.

Teasley was the driver and Brown a passenger. Both were shot in the head.

Two women in the truck previously have said the deputy had no reason to fear for his safety. They said the truck did slowly move backward because Teasley left the truck in neutral and then forgot to put his foot on the brake.

McCulloch said he believes that a finding will be made that Teasley's truck backed up with enough force to damage a reinforced bar installed on the front of the deputy's patrol car. Such bars are used to help push disabled vehicles.

The deputy is on paid leave while the shootings are investigated. The shootings happened in the driveway of a home just off Highway 47 west of Troy.

The deputy, parked on a side road, saw Teasley's westbound truck speed past on Highway 47, Lincoln County authorities have said. The deputy turned on his patrol car's emergency lights and pursued.

The truck turned off the highway and pulled into a driveway with its headlights off, in what authorities called an unsuccessful effort to elude the deputy.

The deputy stopped his car behind the truck and approached the vehicle, then fired from a distance of 20 feet when the truck moved backward, authorities said.

A deputy can use deadly force if he reasonably believes he is in immediate threat of death or serious injury.

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