Prosecutors in Jackson County announced they won’t be bringing any charges against a woman who fatally shot a Kansas City firefighter during a physical altercation. They said she acted out of self-defense. According to FOX4, the fatal encounter occurred at a gas station on October 6. The woman is said to have fatally shot Anthony “Tony” Santi while he was fighting with her boyfriend.
Santi was in the store when he heard Ja’Von Taylor berating a female employee because the cigar brand he wanted to purchase wasn’t available, the affidavit stated. The clerk asked Taylor to leave the establishment, but he refused. Santi subsequently intervened and also told Taylor to leave. But Taylor started to hurl threats at Santi, court documents stated.
The two men ultimately exited the store and got into a physical altercation in the parking area. Court documents stated that Santi and Taylor started fighting over a gun after the latter drew the weapon. A woman who went to the store with Taylor subsequently exited a vehicle. And a video of the fight shows her taking the gun from Taylor.
The woman later opened fire on Santi as the two men continued to fight. The reason for the prosecutors’ decision to not charge the woman was explained by an attorney who reviewed the footage of the incident.
“Technically it’s called the defense of justification and your justification is you are saving the life of another person,” Attorney Kevin Jamison told FOX4.
Jamison added that though it is usually crucial to determine who started the fight in such cases, this may not be the case for this incident. “The girlfriend is only constrained by what she reasonably believed to be the circumstances. If she didn’t see the start of the fight, all she knows is her boyfriend is getting strangled,” Jamison said.
Authorities have since brought a weapons charge against Taylor, the affidavit stated. “We grieve with the family and community over this tragic loss of life of Mr. Santi,” the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The office said they arrived at the decision after they scrutinized the evidence linked to the case. “An officer will be upset because they don’t understand why that the case was declined,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Tuesday in reference to issues raised about her history of declining to file charges in certain cases.
“If a case is declined, it’s just because we don’t believe there’s sufficient evidence to get to that highest burden of proof,” she added.
Jamison said that charges could have been possibly filed if the case was solely based on witness statements. But a video of the incident is available, and attorneys could have called for a self-defense hearing even before a jury was presented with the facts of the case. Jamison said the charges would have been possibly dropped.