Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sergeant Who Killed Robber at South Grand KFC Acted in Self- Defense, St. Louis Prosecutor Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sergeant Who Killed Robber at South Grand KFC Acted in Self- Defense, St. Louis Prosecutor Says

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * A St. Louis police sergeant acted in self-defense when he shot and killed an armed robber in January at a fast-food restaurant on South Grand, according to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.

Joyce on Monday released her office's report on the Jan. 17 shooting of Crayton "Big Wes" West, 52, who was killed by a St. Louis police sergeant who confronted West inside the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Grand Boulevard near Gravois Avenue. West pointed a gun at the officer and refused to drop the weapon, police said at the time.

"The officer did not have time for an alternative method of force or opportunity for de-escalation," Joyce's report said, and evidence and witnesses corroborated the sergeant's account of the shooting. She said she will not file charges in the case.

Police identified the officer Monday as Sgt. Michael Pratt, who has been on the force for more than 13 years.

Joyce's findings are based on an investigation by the department's Force Investigative Unit and interviews with several witnesses. The report says Pratt would not be interviewed by prosecutors based on advice from his lawyer.

A ROBBERY, THEN A SHOOTING

The report includes a surveillance video clip that shows a man identified as West robbing a KFC clerk at gunpoint and grabbing money from the cash register.

A customer in the drive-thru who saw the robbery called 911 and flagged down the police sergeant at a gas station across the street to report the holdup, Joyce's report says. Pratt parked in the KFC lot, got out and saw West inside, near the door. Pratt told investigators he believed West saw his patrol car as he was trying to leave and retreated back inside the restaurant.

Joyce's report says that during the confrontation between the officer and West, West told the officer the robber was in the back of the restaurant. Witnesses and workers, however, contradicted West's claim and told the officer that West was the robber.

The sergeant drew his gun, yelled at West to show his hands and yelled, "Don't do it! Don't do it!" as he saw West pulling a gun from his waistband, according to the report. The sergeant fired twice, hitting West once in the chest and once in the back. …

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