No criminal charges will be filed after a 28-year-old father by the name of Justin King was killed by his neighbor on November 3, 2021 in Bourbon, Missouri. NBC News reports that an inquest determined King died by justifiable homicide.
“I fully concur with the finding of the Coroner’s Inquest panel, and I am declining to issue charges related to the death of Mr. King,” Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney David S. Smith said in a statement obtained by NBC News.
Despite the inquest’s determination, King’s family has been left with far more questions than answers. Most notably, King’s family has questioned investigators account of how the 28-year-old father died.
“The coroner’s inquest was directed in a manner to give the jury evidence of justifiable homicide without presenting all the evidence or even pictures of the body.”
According to multiple reports, King moved from St. Louis to Bourbon, Missouri with the hope of seeing his daughter more often. While there, many of his neighbors say he built a friendly relationship with the shooter, who is described as a white man in his 40s. In fact, the two were reportedly seen together on the morning of the shooting. Together, they searched for their other neighbor’s missing dogs. However, King was allegedly “agitated” because the dog owner reportedly accused him of letting the dogs off of their chains. Ultimately, the dogs were found, but reports claim that King remained “agitated” after the search.
Following the search, King and the shooter were seen entering the 28-year-old’s trailer. While inside, the two had a short conversation before the shooter returned to his home.
“Love you, bro,” King told the shooter, according to security camera footage.
“By all appearances, the relationship between Mr. King and the shooter at this point remained cordial,” Smith said in a statement.
Nearly an hour later, King allegedly ran out of his apartment, yelling incoherently. The 28-year-old father was see “beating” on the shooter’s door before he began to walk back toward his home. On the way back to his home, King was seen turning around and going back toward the shooter’s home. After arriving back at the shooter’s home, he banged on the door for “approximately 15 seconds” before being able to enter. Less than a minute later, King was seen exiting the home with a gunshot wound. He collapse on the shooter’s porch and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
“There appeared to be a continued physical struggle until the shooter exited the covered porch walking rapidly with a gun visible in his hand,” a statement from Smith reads, according to NBC News.
In the aftermath of King’s death, the shooter met with members of Smith’s office and gave a statement. He claimed that the 28-year-old father shouted, “I’m going to f*cking kill you,” as he banged on the door the second time. From there, the shooter says King “forced the door open and ran into [his] residence.” While inside, the shooter claims King threw his television, damaged his wall and hit him in the head. As a result, the shooter “feared for his life” and fired there times. However, the shooter claims that he is unaware as to why King was upset.
Contradicting the shooter’s claims, five neighbors have told NBC News that they doubt the home invasion narrative presented by the shooter. According to multiple residents, the shooter has a history of violence and has expressed a desire to kill someone in the past. Adding on, supporters of King have questioned why security footage from the shooter’s property has not been released.
“No other person in the entire trailer park heard any threat from Justin King towards the shooter. The shooter says there was loud yelling inside the trailer. This is a very small trailer park where the walls are thin. The neighbors in the adjacent trailers didn’t hear any of that,” Chapel told NBC News.
“They spent more time trying to figure out and accuse Justin King than they ever spent trying to get behind the motives of what led to Justin King’s death.”