Earlier this month an off-duty firefighter in Missouri was shot and killed outside a gas station. This was after he wrestled with an angry customer who had pulled a gun on him.
Prosecutors, however, are declining to charge the customer’s girlfriend. The woman who actually shot the firefighter. They claim that she shot him to defend her boyfriend’s life.
On the afternoon of October 6, Anthony “Tony” Santi, a 41-year-old Kansas City firefighter, was in a gas station in Independence, Missouri, when a fellow customer became irate with the female attendant. His irrational anger was because the store did not have the brand of cigars he wanted.
Ja’Von Taylor, 23, began to hurl expletives at the unnamed store clerk, his behavior becoming increasingly erratic, causing a disturbance. The clerk asked Taylor to leave the store, but he refused. Santi then stepped in and demanded that Taylor leave. Tensions rose quickly between the two men. They began fighting inside the store but eventually took the scuffle outside.
Taylor went to his vehicle and took out a firearm which he then turned on Santi. The two men then struggled to grab hold of the weapon. Santi eventually managed to get Taylor into a chokehold.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s girlfriend, who had been sitting in Taylor’s vehicle, had exited the car and begged Santi to stop wrestling with Taylor.
“Stop, sir, stop,” she yelled. “Get off! My kids are in the car! Stop! You’re killing him!”
The woman’s identity has not been released. She picked up the gun, which had fallen to the ground in the scuffle, and then aimed it at Santi. She warned him that she would use it. She eventually did, firing one round into Santi’s back.
A witness filmed the incident. Though the video does not show the actual shooting, the content in it is graphic.
Graphic Content 🚨⚠️
A Kansas City woman has been set free of charges tonight after protecting her boyfriend in a fight with a firefighter. The young lady seconds later killed the firefighter which has now been declared as self defense. ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/tuxV15oTC1
— KC Discover (@KcDiscover) October 19, 2022
The woman shot Santi moments after the end of the video. After being shot, Santi got up off the ground and walked back into the store. It was there he collapsed and died.
After reviewing the video, Jackson County prosecutors declined to press charges against the woman. They argued that she could reasonably claim self-defense.
“We grieve with the family and community over this tragic loss of life of Mr. Santi,” the prosecutor’s office wrote in a statement. “Missouri law governs this case, specifically self-defense and defense of others, leading us to decline charges after a careful review.”
“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,” Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker explained.
Kevin Jamison, a Missouri attorney who has practiced law for 40 years and who “wrote Missouri’s book on weapons and self-defense,” according to local news WDAF-TV, also weighed in on why prosecutors may have declined to press charges.
“Technically it’s called the defense of justification and your justification is you are saving the life of another person,” Jamison explained.
He added that the woman likely had only limited knowledge about the “circumstances” of the fight. Her limited understanding of the situation caused her to believe that Santi posed a threat to Taylor’s life.
“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,” he said.
Though the girlfriend may not face prosecution, Taylor will. He has been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He had previously been convicted of first-degree robbery.