Woman not charged in Independence, MO shooting of off-duty firefighter, citing ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws

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Independence Square, located about five miles from the gas station where the altercation occurred. Photo by Ken Lund on Flickr.

On Oct. 6, an off-duty Kansas City firefighter was shot and killed at an Independence gas station following an altercation inside the store. 

Witness reports state that a customer, Ja’Von Taylor, “disrespected”  the gas station’s cashier, which the off-duty firefighter, Anthony Santi, overheard. Santi then attempted to intervene and the altercation escalated.

The witness continued, stating that Taylor ran outside and grabbed a firearm from his vehicle, which prompted a fight between Santi and Taylor over the weapon. Santi managed to get Taylor in a headlock. A released video shows a woman associated with Taylor holding the weapon, repeatedly asking Santi to let go of Taylor. The woman then shot Santi in the back, causing him to collapse and be taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. 

The witness, who was cited to have had medical training, reported that Taylor at the time was “totally defenseless…couldn’t talk or breathe and was turning purple.” The witness also believed that they heard Santi say “I’m killing you” to Taylor during the altercation.

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement on Oct. 21, explaining why they will not be pressing charges against the woman who shot Santi. According to the Office, “the shooting female fired a single shot in defense of the man who was being strangled.” They acknowledge that the woman was in compliance with Missouri’s Stand Your Ground law, which grants a person the right to use deadly force to prevent serious injury or death to themselves or others.

After the initial decision was released, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office stated that they have received threats and harassment from numerous sources. One such threat included an anonymous call towards prosecutor Jean Baker: “We’re going to burn your f***ing house. We’re f***ing coming for you.”

Although the woman was not charged, Taylor was federally charged for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

One student at William Jewell College familiar with the area remarked that the event was unfortunate.

“This hits really close to home since my family lives down there,” the student, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “I am glad though that the woman was not charged because I feel like I would have done the same thing in that situation. I couldn’t imagine me or my family going to the gas station and being faced with that. I’m definitely sad that the firefighter lost his life, but I am also sad that all of this happened this way. Stand Your Ground and self-defense laws exist for a reason – for things like this, based on what the witness was saying.”

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