POLICE SHOOTING: Suspect’s Mom Speaks Out

Ames police have released the name of a man shot and killed by police Monday following a chase that ended on the campus of Iowa State University.

Nineteen-year-old Tyler Comstock of Boone died after a confrontation with Ames police. Officers had been chasing him Monday morning after they received a report he had stolen his father’s truck. They tried to pull him over but Comstock allegedly put the truck in reverse and rammed it into an officer’s squad car. He took off and police chased him, as he headed toward ISU’s Central Campus.

“Very dangerous and serious situation. I think that’s what led to continuing this pursuit. It was obvious we had to get this person stopped before anyone was hurt,” says Commander Geoff Huff with the Ames Police Department.

Comstock crashed the truck into a tree  on campus and officers surrounded the truck. They ordered him to get out of the truck, but instead officers say he again tried to ram them with the truck. That’s when an officer opened fire.

ames shooting comstockPolice say Officer Adam McPherson fired six shots at the truck. Comstock was injured and taken to Mary Greeley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Comstock’s mom, Shari says her 19-year-old son, a former student at Boone High School was a bright, caring kid but outbursts like this weren’t out of the ordinary. She added that he could be difficult to control at times.

But Shari says she may never see eye to eye with police on the decision to pursue him or use deadly force to bring the chase to an end.

“He shouldn’t have been chased in that area with so many pedestrians,” Shari says.

But police say it was necessary.

“We were afraid he was going to get loose and possibly injure other people,” Commander Huff says.

Officer McPherson has been with the department for eight and a half years. Per department policy, he’s been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

28 comments

  • Kay-Cee TooHonest Stickley

    How unfortunate he was wounded so horribly. It is too bad it’s always shoot to kill, anymore. But nevertheless, a lot of people are safe right now… because of the cops.. I think. If they knew who the kid was, and his approximate location and make of vehicle, I am confused why there was ever a pursuit. God be with the family of the kid, I am sure his father never expected it to end this way.

    • Scott Anderson

      How absoultely moronic do you have to be to believe that the police were not justified in “shoot to kill” in this case? Have you even read the multiple eyewitness accounts and reports offered by not just the police, but bystanders as well? One of them a student that this psycho nearly hit? Take a reality pill lady. Mr. Comstock showed reckless disregard for the safety of other people’s lives. As soon as he made that CONSCIOUS DECISION, he proved himself to be a lethal threat to all those around him and lethal force is not noly authorized, but JUSTIFIED. Mr. Comstock has NO RIGHT WHAT SO EVER to endanger the lives of other INNOCENT PEOPLE no matter how he feels. FURTHERMORE, the chase didn’t even start until AFTER the truck was reported as STOLEN and AFTER the officers tried to get him to shut the truck off when he got it stuck. Your kneejerk reaction to blame everything on the very police that kept this individual from continuing his tirade likely ending in the death of one or more others is disgusting.

      • the gestapos

        so based upon your logic the penalty for dui conviction or speeding in your car should be death because those actions certainly endanger others around you. You make zero sense boy.

      • Mike Hunt (@MichealHunt469)

        Troy, I’m going to let you on a little secret. A dispatcher has no authority whatsoever. Their job is to dispatch emergency crews. Someone sitting at a desk 10 miles away, doesn’t understand the situation as well as the people at the scene.

      • Scott

        Scott Anderson,

        You have a right to your own opinion just as the lady whom you personally attacked does. You were way out of line with your comments and you need to understand and respect the fact that others have different opinions based on any number of things from life experience to a different interpretation of the facts.

        This is a terribly tragic situation and blame rests on multiple heads.

        1) Obviously, the kid had a history of serious anger control issues that the dad was well aware of. He got his son killed by his actions plain and simple. Having know of this kid`s disorder, the dad was beyond negligent in his mishandling of the situation when the argument ensued. When the kid took the truck, he over reacted and escalated this by calling the police and reporting the truck stolen in his effort to “teach the kid a lesson”. That is not how you deal with people who have anger control issues like this. In my mind the dad is guilty of Negligent homicide.

        2) The police were completely wrong and handled this extremely poorly. On the first call, it was evident that this was not a typical stolen vehicle case but a result of a domestic dispute. Under normal circumstances, it is reasonable to assume that this kid had some authority to drive this vehicle as part of his job with his dad. It was total dereliction of duty for the officers to react before interviewing the dad and gathering some facts. Had they done that, I think they would have better understood the situation and handled things better. The dash cam video clearly shows that the kid was initially driving quite normally until the chase began. He was sitting at the stop light and drove with the flow of traffic endangering nobody. This was a case where no chase should have ever been initiated but contact with the family later to resolve the issue. The cops created the dangerous situation that escalated by being overzealous in the beginning without good data.

        3) Obviously the kid himself shares the blame but to be honest, to what degree is hard to determine. This is a person with a history of emotional problems and some level of mental illness. We cannot assign rational behavior to an individual like this. He obviously was never fully in control of himself and therefore is not likely 100% responsible for his actions.

        Truly a tragedy and this was a death that really did not need to happen. There were so many opportunities to diffuse the situation missed. In all honesty, my anger over this is directly mostly at the dad who tried a very cowardly method to “teach a lesson” or more likely retaliation by getting the police to do his job of being a parent to a child with mental illness. Like I said, “manslaughter by cop”.

    • Jeff

      All of you Monday morning quarterbacks should shout the hell up! Unless you’ve stood in an officers shoes and been involved in something like this where you had to make a split second decision, involving life and death, then you need not reply! And for the person who stated they don’t know why they shoot to kill, you’re an idiot! You soot to stop the threat. This isn’t a firing range where you’re shooting at a piece of paper. Have you ever been in a firefight? If not then STFU!

  • Mike C.

    Cops protect and serve themselves. Had the father not called the cops his son would have eventually come home. Now…He Never will.

    I know of Adam Mcpherson and he is a disgrace to good policing. In fact, he was the only officer that fired those six shots.

    This is Ames, Iowa…a good town with some disturbed people and a cop that shoots to kill.

  • isu student

    murder. he should be tried in court. how do you justify shooting and killing an unarmed individual who is surrounded by law enforcement with no way to escape? you don’t.

    • Ken W

      how was he unarmed?? he had a ford truck as a weapon and he was trying to use it on the police! police officers are not trained to “shoot to kill” they are trained to stop the threat.

    • Linda R. Blakely

      Mentality like this causes me concern for the mindset of our youth. It’s as if there is absolutely no responsibility or accountability placed on the young man.

      His actions were reckless, dangerous and his intentions were unknown. Not only was he breaking laws, many of them, he used the vehicle as a weapon against the police.

      Why is it that our youth think it’s OK to break the law, vandalize property, drive drunk, etc. and that it is NOT OK when their actions produce consequences, sometimes leading to a death?

      How about viewing it from the angle that the young man was 19 years old, and did a number of things that were illegal, a threat to others, and just plain stupid! His inability to cope with his anger cost him his life. I don’t know how anyone with an education and respect for others could place the young man as a victim….He was the victim of his own actions…and tragically it cost him his life!

      • Sharon

        Linda I am just pretty sure you have made a few wrong choices in your life too, but you aren’t mentioning those. His mother said he was hard to handle and lashed out at times. That could have been some mental issues that hadn’t been dealt with yet. But how would you feel if this happened to your child??? Shoot to kill in this instance was unnecessary. Too many Barney Fife’s running around in uniforms.

  • Angry dad

    Shame on you Adam McPherson! Hope you feel good about taking the life of a kid who’s life was troubling. The cops escalated a situation that should have been left alone. Give him some time to cool down and the outcome would have been different. An argument with a family member does not justify “shoot to kill!”

    • Linda R. Blakely

      From the mother’s interview, it sounds as if this young man’s behavior is often like this. I beg to differ giving him “time to cool down” would have saved his life.

      He obviously had no coping skills, and in this case used a 1/2+ ton truck as a weapon against the public and the police.

      Hardly a victim….I consider him a perpetrator! Thankfully there WERE no victims in this case. That’s what we all should be thankful for.

  • Reality Check

    Maybe the father should not have reported the truck stolen. After he cooled off the boy would have come home.

    • Troy Hendrickson

      I empathize with this kid and his family to a disturbing degree, there was a time when it could have my father and I. I feel so terrible that this father won’t be able to see his son overcome his problems and become a decent man with a family, and even more grateful than ever that my father lived long enough to rebuild the bridges burnt.

      Sadly there was just a story about a device Des Moines has to put a locater on a car and let the police back off and track the suspect vehicle safely. Such a device could have been used in this case for a much better outcome had they had it available to them.

      So perhaps we should use this tragedy to see the need to equip police with non-lethal alternatives. The kid obviously had mental health issues, we can second guess the cops all we want as well, but it won’t bring the kid back, but we can honor his memory by making sure we as society do what it takes to deal with situations like this without the loss of life.

  • Linda Klein

    The tires could have been shot out, stopping the car from doing anymore harm. This is a very sad situation, but the young man obviously needed help or the father would not have called the police. I would question if he had any care in the past. There is more to the story, but 6 shoots was unnecessary!

    There needs to be a thorough investigation.

    We all need to take more responsibility when young people have issues like this to get them help. It is no different than cancer and there should be a safe place for help, without shame.

  • Amy

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned the fact that the police were placed in danger by this kid. The police involved were husbands, dads, and sons, whose lives were placed in danger by this young man’s reckless and irresponsible behavior.
    If he was experiencing an “outburst” as his mom mildly put it, what was he doing behind the wheel? Come on people, he was ramming the police vehicles while in reverse. The police didn’t shoot to kill, but did shoot to stop. This kid was obviously a threat.

    In response to another comment above, does an argument with a family member justify ramming police vehicles in an effort to hurt and possibly kill?

  • Megan A.

    I think the whole situation is extremely sad, but people need to stop making ridiculous statements just to complain about something. The police got a call about a stolen vehicle, they found the stolen vehicle & tried to pull him over. Instead of stopping, the kid reversed the truck & the trailer up onto the hood of the police car then took off again toward campus. I don’t understand how people are saying the police should have let him cool down (I understand saying it about the dad but not the police). They were just supposed to let this guy who obviously is in some crazy mental state (he must’ve been in order to think ramming a cop car was a good idea) take off through campus? That doesn’t make sense to me. They had to pursue him. What happens when he takes out several students walking to class because he obviously didn’t care about any consequences from his actions at the time? Would you get mad when the police say, “Oh, well we didn’t want to escalate the situation so we just let him drive like a maniac through campus so he could cool down”? I think it’s terrible that it came down to having to shoot at him, but it seems to me that they tried peaceful ways to get him to stop, and it was obvious that he was not going to do that. They tried to pull him over, give him verbal commands, box in his truck when he got stuck in the tree/bushes, and he was still not quitting. What if he continued to ram his way out & then drove through the homecoming tent right on the other side of central campus? What if he drove over there and pulled out a gun & started firing on all the kids heading to eat their homecoming week meal of the day? Then the cops could no longer fire once he’s nearing that many students. Would you then say why didn’t you do anything when you had him cornered? It is quite a big assumption to make that the officer was shooting to kill. I can’t see that being the case, but I do not know and neither do you. That’s a very bold judgement to make. I’m not saying that shooting him was the best way to go, but something needed to be done, and if that’s the only option they felt was left then that’s what needed to happen. I just wish that the kid would not have died. That is very sad. The dad and policeman will feel guilt the rest of their lives. It’s very heartbreaking that the situation turned out this way, but the police potentially saved lives and injuries. We just never know, yet we are so quick to judge. I am thankful for how the police responded, but I wish the poor kid did not have to die. He put himself in that position though and continually threatened officers. He had to have known that he was asking for major trouble. His family as well as the police officer and his family will be in my thoughts & prayers. I’m done now.

  • Sharon Mier

    6 shots is shooting to kill. They should have shot out his tires. This police officer does not know how to react during a critical situation. Maybe he is not mature enough for the position.

    • Eric G

      Sharon you obviously know nothing about law enforcement. Police can’t shoot out tires, Officer McPherson and others gave Tyler commands he choose not to follow. Maybe you need to do some research before making comments about things you know nothing about.

  • Mike C.

    I would like to apologize for the comments I made yesterday at 11:57 am. Surely that young man needed to be stopped and had many opportunities to do so and did not. However, I think there is something wrong with people who are not abhorred by someone getting killed. But the truth is…the young man killed…repeatedly showed disregard for the lives of others. It truly is a sad week for all of us in Ames..especially those who risk their own lives to keep all of us safe.

  • chris

    This cop should be charged with murder. He has a tazer on his beltg je could’ve used it. Shooting an unarmed kid going to buy smokes is patheticg and the “commander” should be fired for supporting a dangerous chase and shooting. If he isnt shot at, he doesnt shoot first.

    • MikeB

      Tazed him through the truck? He was not just buying smokes. He still had a vehicle capable of pushing any police car out of the way. He had already rammed police cars twice and disabled two of the cars. He was continuing to rev his engine when shot. The cop pursuing did slow down, proceeded cautiously through an intersection (the maniac barreled through without slowing down), used their siren while pursuing to inform the public to be careful. Cops are trained to neutralize threats. Backing off is to protect the safety of the public and not a suspect who has already assaulted a police officer. The police made sure that truck was not going to proceed further. Alternate story – Police fail to stop truck which then runs one or more of them over along with several students.

  • Elizabeth Stieger

    This police officer was well in his right. I understand this child had issues. But he did not stop, he rammed the officer, he was causing damage to private property. I feel great pain for the family as this is not a great situation but none the less. He was in the wrong. He did not obey the law and he was being reckless and could have caused another serious damage due to his rage in the truck. You cannot blame the law officer for stopping him from further rampage.

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