No charges will be filed in the death of Black and Filipino man Justin King, who was fatally shot by his white neighbor on Nov. 3 in rural Missouri, the prosecutor overseeing the case announced Wednesday.
Family members and witnesses have rejected the police narrative that King, 28, was shot for trying to invade his neighbor’s home in a trailer park community in Bourbon, about 75 miles southwest of St. Louis.
The news of charges not being brought comes one day after an inquest found that King died by justifiable homicide, a finding his family has disputed.
“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.
Nimrod Chapel Jr., the president of the Missouri NAACP who is representing the King family, denounced Smith’s decision.
“The failure of Crawford County’s prosecutor to bring charges against the murder of Justin King is inexcusable,” Chapel said.
“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.”
King had moved to Bourbon from St. Louis to be closer to his daughter, Harlee, his family said.
Family members and residents of the trailer park said King and the shooter, described as a white man in his 40s, were friends. The prosecuting attorney’s office said the two had been neighbors for over a year and “frequently socialized.”
Smith, summarizing the evidence in the case in his release, said that on that the morning of Nov. 3 — the day King was shot — King and the shooter had helped a neighbor search for her missing dogs.
King was “agitated” because the owner of the dogs accused King of letting them off their chains, which King denied, according to the release.
Even after the dogs were safely located, the release said, King “remained agitated” and the shooter visited him inside King’s residence.
Security camera footage from inside King’s trailer showed the two talking, according to the release. When the shooter left King’s home, King said, “Love you, bro.”
“By all appearances, the relationship between Mr. King and the shooter at this point remained cordial,” Smith said in the release.
The neighbor returned to his home, but 50 minutes later, King was captured on his interior video security system running out of his residence yelling incoherently, according to the release.
The video feed showed him running across the street up to the front door of the shooter’s residence and he “appeared to be beating on the shooter’s door without making entry,” the release said. About 20 seconds later, King began to walk back to his own residence, stopped midway, and ran back to the neighbors door and continued to beat on the front door “for approximately 15 seconds before Mr. King made entry into the shooter’s residence.”
Then, 45 seconds later, King and the shooter emerged from the residence. “There appeared to be a continued physical struggle until the shooter exited the covered porch walking rapidly with a gun visible in his hand,” the release said.
King emerged from the covered porch walking slowly and unsteadily, “having already been injured by gunshot,” the release said.
He collapsed on his the ground a short distance from the porch of the shooter’s home and died of his wounds.
The forensic autopsy found King was shot three times.
The first two shots hit is right leg and inflicted a grazing wound to his head. But the third shot entered near the shoulder and traveled to the heart, the release said. This last shot was determined to be the injury that caused King’s death.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said after the incident that King was shot after “forcing entry into a neighboring residence” where the homeowner “feared for his life.”
“The only person that says it’s a home invasion is the guy that shot my son,” King’s father, John King, previously told NBC News. “And all the neighbors are saying, ‘No, you shot him in cold blood outside.’”
Smith said the shooter was taken into custody and provided a detailed verbal statement of what occurred.
In that statement, he told police that King allegedly yelled, “I’m going to f—— kill you!” as he was beating on the door. The second time King returned to the door, the shooter stated King “forced the door open and ran into the shooter’s residence,” where he allegedly threw one television across the room and damaged another television mounted to the wall.
After that, the shooter told police he put a small .22 magnum pistol in his pocket and ran towards the door. King then “grabbed him and struck the shooter in the head, momentarily disorienting the shooter,” the release said.
When the shooter made his way just outside the front door and King “knocked him to the ground on the covered porch,” according to the release.
That’s when the shooter retrieved his pistol from his pocket and fired the first shot, aiming at King’s leg “in hope that it would cause Mr. King to disengage,” according to the prosecuting attorney’s office. He then fired again and ran into the driveway.
The shooter said that in the short time between the visit to King’s residence and the attack at the shooter’s residence, he and King had no contact and “the shooter had no idea what caused Mr. King’s behavior to change,” the release said.
At the inquest, officials said there was video from both the shooter and King’s homes, but only video from King’s home was shown out of respect for King’s family, according to Chapel.
“So nobody ever saw it. We still haven’t seen it,” Chapel said of video from the shooter’s home.
But the prosecuting attorney’s office said in the release there was no video camera inside the shooter’s residence.
Smith said that during Tuesday’s inquest, the panel of six county residents were provided a copy of Missouri’s law on “Use of Force in Defense of Persons.” Under that law, a person lawfully occupying their private property can use any level of force, including deadly force, to defend themselves.
The panel unanimously voted that King’s death was caused by the shooter and the shooter acted in lawful self-defense.
Five people who lived in the trailer park previously told NBC News they doubted the home invasion narrative, saying that the shooter was a man who had expressed a desire to kill someone and had a history of violence.
The neighbor who shot King, who has not been named because he hasn’t been charged, told NBC News on Tuesday following the inquest results, “It’s a horrible situation.”
Chapel countered the prosecuting attorney’s release by saying there’s “no evidence” of the confrontation the shooter described.
“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,” he 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.”
Chapel vowed to try and keep the case alive, saying, “I think we’ll have to seek the Attorney General, perhaps petition the governor asking for a federal investigation.”
No charges to be filed in death of Justin King, Black man fatally shot by white neighbor in Missouri is written by Marlene Lenthang for www.nbcnews.com