Circuit Attorney: Officer who killed robber at local KFC acted in self-defense

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – A St. Louis police officer will not face charges in the shooting death of an alleged armed robber back in January. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce announced Monday that she won’t be filing charges because the officer acted in self-defense and in defense of others.

On January 17, 2016, the KFC near the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Gravois Avenue was robbed.  According to St. Louis Police, Crayton West, 52, robbed the business at gunpoint and then pointed a weapon at a police officer who confronted him while he was trying to leave the restaurant.  Joyce released surveillance video  of the incident along with her findings Monday.

The Circuit Attorney’s investigation says that West pointed a gun at the cashier and took money from the cash register, as seen in the video and backed up by witness reports and fingerprints on the counter. After the robbery, West was stopped by an officer.  He reached to his waistband where he had concealed the gun and raised it towards the officer, who was just a few feet away.  That’s when the officer shot West.

In a release, Joyce cited the incident being captured on video as a key component to the decision not to file charges,

“We have the unusual advantage with this case in that the incident was captured on surveillance video.  In addition to brave witnesses willing to cooperate and the forensic and physical evidence, it’s clear that the officer in this case was acting to protect himself and those in the restaurant.”

The officer who shot West is a 13 year veteran of the force.

Metropolitan St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson released the following statement in response to the Circuit Attorney’s decision:

Today, the Circuit Attorney's Office released its report on the officer-involved shooting of Crayton West. I am confident their conclusion is the result of a comprehensive review of the incident and all of the facts and evidence presented.

On January 17, 2016, Crayton West was shot and fatally wounded during an armed robbery at the Kentucky Fried Chicken at 3517 S. Grand. After the Force Investigative Unit (FIU) concluded its investigation into the incident the findings were referred to the Circuit Attorney's Office. The Circuit Attorney's Office then conducted an independent investigation and has announced that no charges would be filed against [the officer] because he acted in self defense.