‘I don’t see a pistol.’ Video shows Independence police shoot and kill man after chase
Video released on Friday by lawyers representing a man shot and killed by Independence police last year captures the gunfire and some confusion among officers afterward about what type of gun the man was thought to be holding.
Tyrea M. Pryor, 39, was shot and killed following a police pursuit and crash that ended near the intersection of U.S. 24 and Noland Road on March 11, 2022.
The chase began after police responded to calls about a disturbance at a home in the 800 block of East College Street. Arriving officers saw a white sedan speeding away from the residence and began to pursue.
The video shows the aftermath of the crash as officers walked up to the vehicle and ordered a female passenger to get out. After speaking with Pryor, they shot him multiple times, killing him.
After the shooting, an officer is overheard saying, “I don’t see a pistol.”
Authorities later said the officers shot and killed Pryor when they saw him display an AR-style rifle.
Harry Daniels, an attorney representing Pryor’s family, shared the video with The Star. Daniels said viewing the video confirmed his own suspicions about the case.
“The manner in which Tyrea was killed, ‘Why would he do harm to law enforcement?’” he told The Star.
Daniels said the video was “shocking” and condemned local authorities for not filing charges against the officers involved. “Their conclusion was wrong,” he said. “Mr. Pryor did not shoot a gun.”
“He’s disabled, the vehicle’s disabled, rifle’s secured, but then there’s the final act of shooting (Pryor) 15 times… That last puzzle piece don’t fit,” Daniels said. “This is not a case of excessive force, this is a case of outrageous force.”
The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated the shooting and submitted their findings to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office in June 2022, said Sgt. Bill Lowe, a patrol spokesman.
Mike Mansur, a spokesman for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, on Friday said members of the office met with the family last month to express our condolences and discuss their review of the case.
“We informed them that based on the evidence and law, this is not a case that could be criminally prosecuted. There were a series of ill-advised events that resulted in a terrible loss of life,” Mansur said in an email statement. “After we issue detailed findings, we will respond as appropriate to further inquiries.”
The officers who shot Pryor were identified in the investigators’ report as Jamie Welsh and Hunter Soule.
Independence police could not be reached for comment.
Independence police said they responded to calls about a disturbance just before 8 p.m., on March 11, 2022.
A woman said three people were banging on her door. She did not know who they were and said the three people had arrived in a white vehicle.
Officers arriving at the home spotted a white vehicle speeding away and began following it. The crash occurred a short time later, police said at the time.
The 23-minute dash cam video starts with an Independence patrol car speeding to the scene of the crash.
At the scene, an officer is seen helping a woman out of the car. Another officer approached the car with his weapon drawn. A third officer opens the passenger side door and orders the woman inside to get on the ground.
“Why were you running?” an officer asks.
She replies: “I don’t know.”
The woman says she is injured and lies on the ground.
A commotion erupts between Pryor and a fourth officer, who yells, “Don’t move your [expletive] hands.”
Pryor is heard moaning in apparent pain.
An officer then yells “He’s got a gun.” Officers open fire, shooting Pryor several times.
Afterwards, officers removed the AR-style rifle from the vehicle and place it against a large electronic box.
Paramedics and emergency crews arrive to remove Pryor’s body from the vehicle. They pronounced him dead at the scene.
Family questions police account
Questions over Tyrea Pryor’s death consumed his family after the shooting.
Daniels said they planned to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to review the shooting and they are planning to file a civil lawsuit on behalf of the family.
“We’re more confused than anything because we keep getting different stories,” Ebony Findley the mother of Pryor’s teen son, who shares his name, said at the time.
At first, Findley heard from investigators that Tyrea Pryor had displayed a weapon, she said. Later she was told a shootout had ensued.
“They’re telling us they looked into the car and saw a rifle and then yesterday they said it was a shootout.”
“None of it makes sense,” said Crystal Leggs, Tyrea Pryor’s sister.
“His body... It was just overkill,” Leggs said.
“It was terrible. You can’t even imagine.”