Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Dwight K. Scroggins, Jr., today announces no criminal charges will be filed in the fatal, officer‐involved shooting death of Samantha “Baby Girl” Hennard. The shooting occurred on October 22, 2017, in the 2100 block of South 10th Street, St. Joseph, Missouri. The St. Joseph Police Department officer involved in the fatal shooting is Branton G. Hutchison. The Missouri State Highway Patrol conducted the investigation at the request of the St. Joseph Police Department.
The investigation disclosed that police were called to a location at 9th Street and Sycamore Street in St. Joseph, Mo. regarding a disturbance involving allegations of a stolen vehicle being located. While en route, officers were informed two suspects had fled the original call location on foot and both subjects were armed. Officer Hutchison located one of the suspects, Ms. Hennard, in the 2100 block of South 10th Street. The officer ordered her to stop, she did not comply and as she fled, turned and fired two shots at the pursuing officer. Officer Hutchison returned fire and Ms. Hennard was struck one time. Emergency services were called and pronounced Ms. Hennard deceased at the scene.
A law enforcement officer is allowed to use deadly force if that officer has a reasonable belief the use of such force is necessary to protect himself or another from serious physical injury or death. Once fired upon in this instance, the officer’s belief that deadly force was permissible was not unreasonable and as a result, will not be the basis for any criminal charge allegations.