"Why? Why did they kill him?" asked Tyler's mother, Shari Comstock.
Well here are a few reasons:
- His father reported the company truck Tyler was driving as stolen.
- Tyler Comstock didn't pull over when Ames Police officers lit him up.
- Tyler rammed a police vehicle.
- Tyler, when cornered by police cars and ordered to turn off the engine, instead revved it.
It seems sonny stormed off when dad, James, refused to buy him some cigarettes and dad called in the cops to teach his hot-headed nineteen year-old a lesson. At some point dispatchers tried to wave off the pursuit, probably because they found out the truck was "stolen" by a family member, but by then, I'm guessing, other laws like "evading" and "failing to pull over" and maybe "speeding" were being broken.
Tyler ended up in the middle of the Iowa State University campus and may have endangered pedestrians getting there. He was fired on by Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson six times and hit twice. Comstock was likely unarmed, except for the two-ton landscaping truck battering ram and twenty gallons of explosive gasoline in the tank.
Bewildered James lamented, "It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. And I lose my son for that?"
I would like to answer Mr. Comstock's question: "No, it wasn't over a pack of smokes."
There was a police shooting here in Tigard ten years ago. A family with a disturbed teen aged son called the local heat. He had gotten his hands on a big butcher knife and chased his parents and siblings and others out of the house onto the front lawn. He was still inside ranting when Police arrived. When he came out the front door knife prominent and wouldn't put it down, as ordered, and made a move to leave the area, he was shot and killed, by the officers.
His family was very upset. They had expected the police to somehow magically subdue their son without hurting him. They obviously didn't consider that the police would not want to get injured or killed, or that the neighbors might not want to get stabbed, either.
So to all husbands, wives, parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and in-laws with erratic and sometimes-violent relatives, I would give this one piece of advice: Don't call armed officers into a tense situation, and not expect bullets to fly. They just may be able to talk someone down, but not always.
If you just want someone to tackle your loved-one so you can restrain him until he comes to his senses... consider calling the local football team or some semi-pro wrestlers, or do it yourself. Because once you call the police, it is out of your hands. They are not just there to coddle your bi-polar progeny. They will consider first the safety of the community, themselves and you.
In the knife scenario above the officers couldn't let the teen advance or retreat back into the house or run off onto a neighboring property.
In the Comstock incident, it stopped being about cigarettes when Tyler wouldn't pull over... and ultimately would not kill the motor and get out of the truck. The cops couldn't let him drive off and endanger others and they wouldn't further endanger themselves.