Family identifies 17-year-old Black teen killed by police

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave per department policy.

Christopher “Chris” Jones was allegedly sleeping in a car in O’Fallon, Missouri when he was startled by police officers knocking loudly on the window. What happened next is unclear, but Jones was shot dead. 

The shooting occurred on Sunday, Jan. 23, and original reporting called Jones a “man” who was fleeing police. A subsequent report clarified that the victim was 17-years-old.

Kiara Neal, 24, said that her brother and a friend went to hang out with another friend in the St. Louis suburb and stayed up through the night talking. She believes that the boys fell asleep in the car. 

Police said they walked up to the Honda Accord around 11 a.m. and “loudly knocked” on the window. They also said they spotted a handgun in the front seat. 

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, the driver (Jones) then put the car in reverse and struck a police car. Officers then fired at the vehicle, which moved forward until coming to rest blocks away. Jones was transported to a nearby hospital by paramedics where he later died. 

The report notes that police were called to the area, the 500 block of Prentice Drive, after a call about a “suspicious vehicle” just before 11 a.m last Sunday. They say that Jones and his friend were in a car that had been reported stolen. 

The St. Charles County Police Department has declined to answer pressing questions about the shooting, including how many shots were fired, whether either of the people in the car pointed a gun at police, where the officers were standing when they fired their weapons or whether the bullet that killed Jones was fired by police. They have cited the ongoing investigation as the reason for their lack of response.

O’Fallon, Missouri is 33 miles east of St. Louis. The city has a population of approximately 90,000 people, according to the 2020 census, and is nearly 90% white. 

The city’s police chief recently resigned after a new law passed in the state reportedly removes sovereign immunity and could allow agencies and officers to be sued for good faith justified seizures of firearms. 60 other chiefs in the state have signed a petition asking the state legislature for clarification, per Fox 2.

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave per department policy. Body camera footage of the incident has been turned over to the St. Charles County Police. 

Neal, who was Jones’ guardian, said that he was not enrolled in school, but was planning to enter a program to complete the requirements for his high school diploma. “That’s my best friend,” she said. “We just had a super tight bond.”

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