Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Ronald R. Holliday today announces that no criminal charges will be filed in the Officer-Involved Shooting of PHILLIP T. J. HOYT, w/m, 42 years of age. The shooting occurred on January 10, 2019, in an alley in the 1300 block of Garfield, St. Joseph, Missouri. The St. Joseph Police Department officer involved in the shooting was Officer Branton G. Hutchison, who has been a police officer for four and one-half years for the City of St. Joseph. The Missouri State Highway Patrol, Special Division of Drug and Crime Control, conducted the investigation at the request of the St. Joseph Police Department.
The investigation disclosed that police officers were dispatched at 3:40 p.m. on that day to a disturbance between neighbors in the 1300 block of Garfield. A complaining witness identified the aggressor in the disturbance to reside in a condemned house nearby. Officer Hutchison engaged two individuals in the alleyway behind the condemned house, a male and a female. The individuals were walking away from the officer. He instructed both of the individuals to stop. Both individuals initially stopped in accordance with the request of the officer. The male subject, Mr. Hoyt, then proceeded to walk away at a rapid pace. The officer followed Mr. Hoyt to the location of 13th & Atchison when the officer again instructed the subject to stop. Mr. Hoyt turned around to face the officer and drew a firearm from his waistband and lifted the gun in the direction of the officer. The officer then fired his service weapon in the direction of Mr. Hoyt, striking him in the upper right arm and left hip. Hoyt then fled in a northwesterly direction with the weapon still in his hand. Hoyt was arrested a short distance away.
Hoyt, a convicted felon who was prohibited by law from owning or possessing a weapon, had in his possession a loaded Hi-Point 9mm pistol. The weapon was recovered nearby. He had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest and told officers he ran because he knew he was not supposed to be in possession of any weapon. He also admitted he had used Methamphetamine, a controlled substance, earlier in the day. Hoyt was treated at Mosaic Health Center and the University of Kansas medical center for his injuries.
A law enforcement officer is allowed to use lethal force if that officer has a reasonable belief that the use of such force is necessary to protect himself or another from serious physical injury or death. It is my opinion that the use of force by the officer in this case was permissible and not unreasonable and as a result, will not be the basis for any criminal charge allegations.