NewsLocal News


Retired FBI agent: Lethal force likely 'justifiable' in KCPD shooting

63rd and Prospect Shooting.jpg
Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-27 08:44:32-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a law enforcement officer shoots a suspect in any case, the use of force becomes a topic of discussion.

Law enforcement officers are authorized to use deadly force when, in the officer's judgment, a suspect is exhibiting life-threatening behavior, which needs to be stopped immediately.

“We train tirelessly from day one to give officers every tool both physically, mentally and tactically to work through those situations so that they have the best chance to make the best decision that they can," Sgt. Jake Becchina, spokesperson for the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, said.

During the course of an arrest Thursday inside a gas station near East 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue, a KCPD officer was shot in the leg by a suspect before returning fire at and killing him, according to police.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol identified the man killed by police Friday as 31-year-old Malcolm Johnson.

KCPD said it had a stop order for Johnson, which means there was probable cause to arrest him for a crime.

Retired FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman said it's likely in this case that the shooting will be deemed justified.

“Unless there are circumstances that we don't know about, I think this will be found to be a justifiable use of lethal force," Tabman said.

The stop order was issued because police sought to arrest Johnson as the suspect in an aggravated assault March 15 involving his ex-girlfriend.

KCPD officers were dispatched to the 9700 block of East 43rd Street for sounds of shots fired.

Johnson allegedly had multiple shots fired at his ex-girlfriend. A man at the scene was also grazed by a bullet and four cars were hit by gunfire.

41 Action News spoke with KCPD representatives in recent weeks about the use of deadly force.

“If they're going to use deadly force with a firearm, they are trained to shoot for the largest portion or the largest thing that they can see," Becchina said. "Typically, if a full person is standing in front of them, that would be the term you'd hear, 'center mass.' That would be the chest area, the mid-section area, because that is the largest portion available on that person."

It is unclear if the officers involved in Thursday's deadly shooting were wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting.

The officer who was shot in the leg remained hospitalized Friday in stable condition, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.