No charges will be filed in shooting death of Justin King
The white Missouri man who fatally shot his biracial neighbor Justin King will not face charges, the prosecutor announced Wednesday.
TheGrio previously reported that 28-year-old King, who was Black and Filipino, lived across from the unidentified individual who shot and killed him mid-morning on Nov. 3 inside their small trailer park in Bourbon, Missouri, about 73 miles southwest of St. Louis. The man told authorities King was trying to break into his trailer, and Missouri has “castle doctrine” laws, which mean a homeowner has the right to defend their home with lethal force.
King’s death was ruled a justifiable homicide in an inquest Tuesday, NBC News reported.
“I fully concur with the finding of the Coroner’s Inquest panel, and I am declining to issue charges related to the death of Mr. King,” Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney David S. Smith said in a release Wednesday.
King’s family members have disputed the finding, and witnesses to the killing have rejected the official narrative that King was shot while trying to invade his neighbor’s home. According to NBC News, one neighbor said King and the unnamed shooter were friends. Another neighbor, Katie Bosek, said that the two men were jointly working on her car earlier on the day of the shooting. She described King as “a gentle man who helped everybody.”
Smith said King was “agitated” after being accused by a female neighbor of letting her dogs off their chains, which he denied. King and the shooter helped the woman search for the dogs. According to Smith, even after the dogs were safely located, King “remained agitated”.
Security camera footage from inside King’s trailer reportedly shows the 42-year-old shooter visiting King, with King saying, “Love you, bro” following their conversation.
“By all appearances, the relationship between Mr. King and the shooter at this point remained cordial,” Smith said in the release.
Nearly an hour after the neighbor returned to his own home, King was captured on his video security system running around his home and yelling incoherently. He then visits his neighbor’s residence and “appeared to be beating on the shooter’s door without making entry,” the release said.
There’s a moment when King starts to walk back to his trailer, but returns to his neighbor’s front porch and bangs on the door “for approximately 15 seconds before Mr. King made entry into the shooter’s residence.” The two men physically struggle “until the shooter exited the covered porch walking rapidly with a gun visible in his hand,” the release said.
King emerges from the covered porch “having already been injured by gunshot,” the release said. He was shot three times and collapsed and died a short distance from the porch. Per the report, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said he was shot after “forcing entry into a neighboring residence” where the homeowner “feared for his life.”
“All evidence on scene, video surveillance and statements received, preliminarily corroborate the homeowner’s account of the events,” said Major Adam Carnal, chief deputy of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
“The failure of Crawford County’s prosecutor to bring charges against the murder of Justin King is inexcusable,” said Nimrod Chapel Jr., the president of the Missouri NAACP who is representing the King family.
“The coroner’s inquest was directed in a manner to give the jury evidence of justifiable homicide without presenting all the evidence or even pictures of the body,” he added.
King’s neighbors said the shooter was known to be liberal with his use of the N-word. He had previously been charged with second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon while intoxicated — both felonies — but it is not clear if he was convicted.
“No other person in the entire trailer park heard any threat from Justin King towards the shooter. The shooter says there was loud yelling inside the trailer, this is a very small trailer park where the walls are thin. The neighbors in the adjacent trailers didn’t hear any of that,” Chapel said.
“They spent more time trying to figure out and accuse Justin King than they ever spent trying to get behind the motives of what led to Justin King’s death.”
This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Biba Adams.
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!