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Officer-Involved Shooting Of Suicidal Overland Park Teenager Was 'Justified,' Authorities Say

Andrea Tudhope
KCUR 89.3
John Albers, 17, was fatally shot by Overland Park police on Jan. 20. Authorities have deemed the shooting was justified.

Johnson County authorities announced Tuesday that the fatal, officer-involved shooting of 17-year-old John Albers was justified. 

The announcement comes one month after Overland Park police were dispatched to a home in south Overland Park, responding to a report of a suicidal person. As indicated by dispatcher tape, the 911 caller reported that Albers, a high-school student at Blue Valley Northwest, had taken pills, was drinking heavily and threatening to stab himself.

Two officers arrived on the scene and were approaching by foot when the home's garage door began to open. One officer walked toward the garage, thinking that Albers' mother had opened the door, according to Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe. 

Newly released dash-cam footage shows a van, driven by Albers, accelerating toward the officer, who yelled, "Stop the car," before firing twice. The van stopped, and the officer lowered his weapon.

But within seconds, the footage shows, the van reversed in a rapid "J" turn following the officer over the lawn and driveway. The officer fired 11 more times.

"In this case, police were called to this residence to perform what is known as 'community caretaking.' They were there to stop a young man from committing suicide," Howe said in a written statement. "They never got that opportunity."

Though the situation was "tragic," Howe said, the officer had reason to fear for his life and it was necessary to fire his weapon.

The officer will not face criminal charges for the shooting. He has also resigned for personal reasons, according to officials.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
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