Coroner’s Inquest Rules Fatal Police Shooting Justified – Dash Cam Video Included
The coroner's inquest into the fatal shooting of Kalieb Williams on New Year's Eve concluded on Monday afternoon, with the jury finding that the shooting by Corporal Paul Kelly was justified.
Th incident occurred after Williams, 20, allegedly assaulted his own mother, and drove away from his apartment without permission n his mother's Buick with his girlfriend, Rita Daniel. A neighbor called 9-1-1 to report the assault, and the search for Williams was on.
Missoula police spotted the vehicle and gave chase, but the roads were so slick and speeds became dangerously high, so the police commander gave instructions to call off the pursuit. At that moment, Cpl Kelly spotted Williams' car disabled facing the wrong way on the on-ramp behind Costco. He approached the vehicle and initiated contact with Williams, who in the course of the incident, said he had a hostage. He repeatedly told Kelly to shoot him in the head. Kelly attempted to reason with Williams, saying there was a better way to end the situation that with someone getting hurt. When Williams apparently began choking Ms. Daniels, Kelly heard her screams for help and fired one round from his revolver into the car window, striking Williams in the head, killing him instantly.
Missoula County Sheriff's Detective Jonathan Gunter was the lead investigator in the case. since the shooting involved a Missoula police officer. Gunter concluded that the shooting was justified.
"At that point, Officer Kelly saw Kalieb Williams begin to thrash around inside the car, as Rita Daniel began screaming in distress," Gunter read from his official report. "Officer Kelly responded to this activity by firing a single shot from his handgun, striking him in the head, killing him instantly."
Kelly, a firearms instructor and winner of many shooting competitions, said he wanted to make sure his shot would only incapacitate the suspect, and not endanger the hostage.
"I took a deep breath," Kelly said. "I knew that I could not just shoot rounds through the door because I knew the hostage was there. This was a situation where I had to be very confident and competent, and I had to stop that threat as quickly as I could and as safely as I could for that hostage. It did take me a couple of seconds, but I was able to steady my handgun, and I did take the shot knowing full well that it was going through the window."
Chief Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks said the jury only took about 20 minutes to arrive at their conclusion that the shooting was justified, thus bring the matter to a close in a criminal court. Marks did say that the Williams' may pursue the matter in civil court, but as far as his office is concerned, the matter was concluded.