A father’s attempt to teach his son a lesson for taking his truck without permission ended in tragedy Monday after a local police officer shot the teenager dead.

James Comstock told the Des Moines Register he called the police on his son Tyler after the latter took the former’s truck in retaliation for refusing to buy him cigarettes.

Ames Police Officer Adam McPherson reportedly spotted the lawn care company vehicle and pursued it onto the Iowa State University campus, where a brief standoff ensued after Tyler allegedly refused orders to turn off the engine.

McPherson eventually fired six shots into the truck, two of which struck Tyler who was later pronounced dead.

The official report claims the action was necessary in order “to stop the ongoing threat to the public and the officers.”

Tyler’s dad says he was unarmed at the time.

“So he didn’t shut the damn truck off, so let’s fire six rounds at him?” exclaimed Gary Shepley, Tyler’s step-grandfather. “We’re confused, and we don’t understand.”

James said his son had his fair share of minor troubles with the law, and was distraught over a recent breakup with his girlfriend, but was in the process of turning his life around, and was working on obtaining his GED at Des Moines Area Community College.

“He was a smart kid. He made his own computers. He was interested in IT,”
James told the Register.

The family’s demands for answers got even louder following the revelation that a member of the Ames police department suggested twice that officers call off the chase.

“He took off with my truck. I call the police, and they kill him,” James said. “”It was over a damn pack of cigarettes.”

McPherson is currently on paid leave pending the results of his department’s investigation.

  • amb

    Oh my! six shots and he was unarmed! my sympathy is with the parents!

    • Jenn

      He was unarmed; however, he was using the truck as a weapon. I feel sorry for everyone involved.

    • if you watch and listen the police lied on the report. there were 7 clear shots fired not 6 and a possible 8 shots. the audio does not kick on till after i see the second shot. that is more than in excess.

    • Numberless

      It’s a shame the guy was shot but he backed up into a police cruiser which could have gotten someone killed. Then he drove like a maniac which could have gotten someone killed. It’s a shame he died like I said but definitely better it this way than to endanger more lives by letting the chase go on. I say the cop was excessive but he definitely should keep his job, just received some coaching from his superiors on how to better handle the situation next time.

    • Sheldon


      So it turns out he wasn’t unarmed, and he was shot for more than just ‘not turning the engine off.’

      What the fuck, atlnightspots? What the fuck kind of journalism is this?

  • bminbetty

    You know everyone is saying that the officer needn’t have shot that many times, and you are mostly correct. But let’s put the blame where it really should be…..SHAME ON YOU DAD FOR CALLING THE COPS IN THE FIRST PLACE. The kid only wanted a pack of cigarettes, and even though he took your truck without permission you didn’t need to carry it to such extremes. All you had to do was wait for him to get back and then deal with it in the proper way.

    • really?

      I understand where you want to throw the blame on the dad but don’t you think he’s going through enough. Plus, aren’t the police officers supposed to be there to protect and serve? Isn’t this exactly something they could have dealt with professionally and let the kid see that no matter what he’s going through it’s not worth criminal action? Well, it was the OFFICER that didn’t handle the situation the way it should have been and because of the officers actions the kid will never have the chance to learn that lesson. The more the cops act like that, the less we can trust them and the more dangerous it is for both the public and the police. This needs to stop.

      • Jenn

        I agree. I wish I could see more of the truck Tyler was in towards the end. If I were an officer and he was going to ram me while I was out of my vehicle, I can’t say I wouldn’t have opened fire to save the lives of my coworkers and myself.

      • Cathy

        It is not a police officers job to “protect and serve” it is their job to enforce the laws.

      • bminbetty

        It wasn’t the officers fault, I actually just took time to listen to the video clip provided with the story and the officers gave the “YOUNG MAN” NOT A KID, he was 19 yrs. old, plenty of time and chances to pull over and surrender peacefully but he choose not too and put alot of college students at risk by his reckless driving and REMEMBER HE BACKED INTO OR RAMMED THE POLICE CARS AT LEAST 2 TIMES.
        Also the man’s “father” knew he had had run ins with the law before and by doing what he did…”calling the police”…he put his son in even more risk and danger because of the record, regardless, of how big or small it was. I STILL STAY WITH MY EARLIER STATEMENT THAT THE FATHER IS AT FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • kaniki

          also dont forget about the reverse driving though campus. you know those pieces of plywood that he ran over. there could have been a person behind any one of them. Personally, I dont even know if the guy had a license. the idiot could have taken the vehicle after he was told not to, or been acting a bit on the crazy side when he got in. You dont know the guys mentality, so maybe the father was trying to implant that you cant just do what you want to his kid when he called the cops. Still the fact is, it does not matter who called the cops or made the shots, that guy drove fast and recklessly where he put innocent people at risk many times, and in the end, it was the many actions of the kid that caused the outcome. he could have simply stopped or gotten out of the vehicle at any time, but he chose to try and run people over instead. for that, you can not blame the cops or the dad.

        • Classic Ruby

          I agree 100%, the person I blame for this situation happening is the father. The father even stated, he wanted to teach his son a lesson… you don’t call the cops to teach a “good kid” “promising future” etc etc a lesson…

          the cops aren’t there to enhance your discipline procedures, this isn’t tv.. when you call the cops on someone, you have now put the police in a position of catching a criminal, and they aren’t there to play nicely with criminals and endanger their own lives and the lives of the police all to teach that good kid turned bad a lesson and hope to God no innocent bystanders or themselves are injured or die in the process.

          They are there to stop a crime and apprehend a criminal. Period. So if you don’t want your kid being treated like a criminal 100%, don’t call the police on them. And if the police treat your kid like the criminal you have now called them and told them he is, don’t be upset and outraged at anyone except for yourself. Did the cop use excessive force, and was he in the wrong? I’m not going to comment on that, to be honest I tend to think very poorly of the police as a whole.

          Calling the police isn’t a game. If you called the cops on some guy trying to break into your house, or some stranger who stole your car, would you want them to play nice and let the kid injure 70 people in the process, or let the burglar get into your house and take your kids as hostages, because, come on, clearly he is a young guy who is a great kid and just needs a little scare in him? No, you would want them to stop the offender before it got to that point, whatever the cost.

          Was there a better way to do this? Maybe. Probably. Like I said, I don’t like or trust cops anyway. But at the end of the day, this father was dead wrong for calling them in this situation to begin with and has some nerve being all upset that they hurt his poor awesome brilliant kid. He called them in the first place and put his life in their hands. He relegated his kid to the status of common dangerous criminal by calling them. And anything that happened only happened because he called in the first place.

    • Jenn

      Are you serious? The only person to blame is Tyler. HE alone made the decisions which lead to his death. He stole a vehicle which doesn’t belong to him. Regardless of the vehicle’s owner, Tyler didn’t have permission to take it. If it were just a pack of cigarettes, Tyler could have walked his butt to the liquor store (or where ever he buys them) to get them. Even after taking the truck, he didn’t need to evade the police or ram them repeatedly.

      Clearly he has had enough issues in the past for his father to feel the need to call them. I’d venture to say he’s had multiple chances and his father has attempted many times to handle things within the family.

      I feel awful for Tyler’s friends and family and hope that they don’t allow people like you to make them feel guilty for the choices they made trying to get their kid on a successful path in life. The sad truth is that Tyler made those choices and now he’s gone.

      • bminbetty

        Yes he did make the decision to take the truck etc… and he is EQUALLY AT FAULT with his father. I feel for the family and am truly sorry for their loss, but dad SHOULD NOT HAVE CALLED THE POLICE, he made a bad situation even worse.

        • mmhmm

          Bminbetty.. shut the **** up.

        • kaniki

          he should not have called?? so just when do you call??? it is not like he took a light bulb.. he took a vehicle. If he got into an accident, who do you think they are going to go after.. the owner of the truck!!! so the dad should take the chance of loosing everything that he has and owns so that his kid can run around in a vehicle that he stole and that he just just sit there and wait until he feels like returning because he is hid kid?? really??? yea, that makes a lot of sense. He did not have permission to take it and he knew it. Dad was right to call the cops because he was covering his butt for everything that could, and did happen that his idiot son did. I sure as heck would not take the chance to loose everything that I own because of the stupidity of someone else.

      • TJ

        I agree Jenn. Its all very sad and went way to far but the only person who is to blame is the young man, Tyler. He is an adult and made poor choices. His father must be feeling absolutely dreadful.

    • exactly and well put. i hear all too often about parents threatening to “call the cops” or actually doing so when children dont do as told when they are told to do so. this is a deplorable display by the father but even worse by the police force. looks to me as though the truck had already been disabled, there is more to this story then the police are letting out into the public for fear a lawsuit may occur from the community as a whole against the officer as a sole person. looks like one of the tires is flat in the side picture and also looks as though the radiator was frazzled from what appears to either be anti-freeze or gasoline on the ground from pictures i have seen elsewhere.

      the father should be tried with this as well to teach him a lesson that being a narc over something as remedial as this is childish and could land youre own child injured or in this case deceased. will show parents it isnt always the answer to everything and the police have better things to do then parent youre child for you

      • kaniki

        on the parents relying on the police part, I agree.. but to some extent.. If is it something small, like a bottle of pop, work it out yourself, but in this case, the vehicle ended up being used as a deadly weapon, almost as if it was used like a gun. In that aspect, I dont see anything wrong with calling the police. after all, it is not like he could go after the kid, after all, he just stole his truck. small things, the parents should take care of themselves, but his kid took it was past that, and outside the house when he took something that he could hurt others with.

    • i cant even ._.

      It is in now way the fathers fault, seriously! it is very sad that this boy lost his life but i can assure you that any fare minded parent would have done the same thing. Because lets not forget the son STOLE his fathers car, point blank. Also calling the police was hardly an extreme honestly i think it was a necessary precaution considering the condition his son was in, who knows what he was planning on doing, he had just been in a fight with his father and recently broken up with his girlfriend, if anything the father was worried for the safety of his son and work truck.

    • Point Blank

      I agree 100%. And the damn kid rammed a cop car. He drove into oncomming traffic all because he was having a little hissy fit. It’s completely fine to put other lives at risk by saving some stupid ass? I think not.

  • mark

    There is a dash cam video of the incident. There is a short chase, and the pick up truck rams the officers car a few times…thats why they shot. check liveleak.com for the video

  • Branden

    Maybe watch the video before you comment. It was reckless and dangerous. Take care of your own kid if you don’t want him doing something stupid. And no, he was not a smart kid or he would not have done this.


  • Jenn

    The only person to really blame for this is Tyler. HE made the decisions which lead to his demise. I feel so sorry for his friends and family…just heartbreaking it had to come to this.

    With that being said, I couldn’t get a clear view of the truck towards the end to know for sure if the shots were premature or not. If he was in the process of ramming the officers while they were outside of the vehicle, I can’t say I wouldn’t do the exact same thing.

  • Manny

    This is what you get when the government limits the IQ of those hired to police the rest of us.

  • Watch the video. This kid was reckless and put hundreds of people in danger. These types of kids should be eliminated at birth. If only they could spot them early.

    • Lewis

      I agree with you 100%. Everyone is making the officer seem like the bad guy but what if he had peeled off and hit an innocent child or more… Would shooting him be justified then AFTER someone is hit? The officer felt a potential threat to society and eliminated him end of story U_U

  • This scenario is being played out over again by city police who are firing upon and killing unarmed citizens. Maybe it is time to reduce or get rid of city police departments which seem to employ individuals who are not mentally capable of handling the stress of police work.

  • Craig Mack

    Trigger happy pig. He was obviously looking to shoot someone. You don’t fire into a fucking car 6 times because they won’t shut it off.

    • Cathy

      This adult man CHOSE to drive onto a college campus, drive the wrong way, running stop signs with no care at all to the safety of others and then used the vehicle as a DEADLY WEAPON by ramming the police car…it was his choice and the risk he CHOSE to take…he got what comes with taking that risk!

  • I have been reading these post and wow. Some of you people jump at every opportunity you get to bash the police. This police officer did what was needed to save lives. If he would have done nothing and the kid would have barreled through innocent students you all would be asking for the officer’s resignation. Kid obviously has issues now the father wants to blame the police because he can’t handle his damn child.

  • Bobby Smith

    ‘merica, land of the fat. With every passing year, that place is getting crazier and its people, more and more out of touch with reality.

  • Chandra Kemp

    This is so sad and looks like the cop was to gun happy the officer should be put away for this. This kid deserved to live. The father was not in the wrong at all. The officer was. My prayers go out to this family.

  • Fred Savage

    I guess smoking really does kill.

  • gazza006

    Errr, hello, what did people expect ? It’s America. I don’t even know why this is a headline. It’s normal. You got to love them guns guys.

  • Tyrion

    The blame will go to the Father, why would you involve the police in a family situation, its not their job, yes they are domestic issues that the cops do get involved in but they never ever solve them. It was a family issue why bring the cops, if you can’t reason with your kid yourself why have someone else teach them a “lesson”, just cause you can’t. It is sad nonetheless.

  • Tyrion

    The blame will go to the Father, why would you involve the police in a family situation, its not their job, yes they are domestic issues that the cops do get involved in but they never ever solve them.

    It was a family issue why bring the cops, if you can’t reason with your kid yourself why have someone else teach them a “lesson”, just cause you can’t. It is sad nonetheless.

    • kaniki

      uh.. hello.. family issue?? the whole family issue thing went out the door when he stole a vehicle and took it on the road.. That is what you call illegal.. and dont forget, he had many run in’s with the law in the past. that means, there is a good possibility that he did not have a license to drive. If that is the case, then someone steals a vehicle and drives it on the road without a license and that is not something you should report to the police?? When does it not become a family issue?? When he runs someone over?? Dont forget, the cop was right behind him at first and did not have the sirens going so when the cop turned them on, he could have had a call for some emergency. The kid did not even try to let the cop by. He just started driving like an idiot before he knew that the cops were after him. so even if the cops had a call that was not about him, he would have taken off like that driving crazy without his dad doing a thing, and then it would have still probably carried out the same way. The kid was obviously unstable from the start or else he would have not taken off when he did not know the cop was after him. Dont forget, he probably panicked because he had many run in’s already with them in the past.

  • niggerDad

    It goes to show that cigarettes kill.

  • also a dad

    darwin…thou art blessed among men 😛

  • A mom

    Maybe the boy was actually suicidal. Dad and police may have helped him carry out suicide.

  • Copsrus

    Bottom line is that none of you were there to witness what happened so I’m still trying to figure out how all of you can make assessments. Because of what you read in the news?? I’m a police officer and I can say first hand that there has never been a single news story about an incident in my city that has been accurate. You are all simple minded people. I’m willing to bet my pension that there is much more to this story than what this “reporter” provides. If this kid rammed cops with the truck, that’s a deadly force assault and lethal force is justified. Cops don’t “shoot” tires because it’s a low percentage benefit and it’s dangerous to bystanders. Nothing cracks me up more than when I hear about how the dead suspect was a “good” person and how they were changing their life around. Change the record…

  • Crystal

    I don’t think the Dad is to blame. Kids need to be taught a lesson and start respecting their parent. Unfortunately cops are gun happy and where a shot to the leg would due they think they need to unload their whole gun on an unarmed child.

  • Kevin

    I ALWAYS like to give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt and NOT Monday morning QB but this seems way over the line (as presented)

    First for those who blame even partially the dad, while I wouldn’t have called the police the kid did steal the truck.

    For the comment about police being trained to empty their clip, not true. Aim center mass, shoot to stop (not kill) but if it takes 6 to stop them you shoot six but as described what was he stoping? He was parked and his actions were not threatening. Past actions don’t count at this point.

    For those who feel this in any way, based on the information this is a justified shooting your wrong. Having been in law enforcement police must use “reasonable force” which comes down to the minimum amount necessary to resolve a situation.

    Based on the information provided I will assume the vehicle was in park, engine running but (and remember what transpired previously ALL OF IT is irrelevant unless he has known to have committed a violent felony such as rape or murder) at the time posed no REAL threat to persons including police. If he put the vehicle in gear it would be different, but it doesn’t appear that’s the case.

    I hate to say it but based on the facts as described the officer needs to be charged.

    However I am fine waiting until ALL the facts are told and a decision made by an independent law enforcement agency along with the states AG before

  • Kevin

    Apparently my previous post was too long. What a surprise.

    Bottom line. “Reasonable force”. Prior acts don’t come into play unless it is known he committed a violent crime (rape, murder). The driver was not a threat to anyone at the time. If he put it in gear, different story.

    Officer was wrong.

  • doug

    First of all for all those that are crying why not shoot the tires or the legs? an officer does not train to shoot tires or various body parts. If he feels the threat of the persons actions will kill someone or himself and pulls his firearm. They are trained to end the situation. Anyone who puts the officer down ask your self if your love one was in the path of someone like this and was run down dead and that officer could have ended it but didn’t. Well that’s all I have to say..

  • Darin Selby

    More Dads than you know do this type of behavior with their offspring. They bring the COPS in on it, they drop their kid off an the MILITARY doorstep. so as to teach them a lesson in DISCIPLINE! Well, we can see here that doesn’t work, and never has. If the kid was being violent, then that’s when you call for backup. Anything short of that I say, leave the U.S. governing-of-the-mental out of it, when dealing with domestic problems. Okay, so the kid steals the truck. THAT IS HIS SON, no less?? Just like my Dad did with me, he got the ‘governing-of-the-mental’ involved, and off to the Navy I went for SIX YEARS, aircraft carrier duty. 5800 men, not a single woman, out to sea for four months at a time, 12 on, 12 off, seven days a week. These Dads never took the time to make friends with their offspring. No wonder it is a love/hate relationship? They need them for basic survival and being under age, but most of them cannot wait until they are out of the house of a PETTY TYRANT! These Dads are the ‘iron fist’ of their domain, and have to keep law and order at all costs. Well, I say, from first-hand experience, what a HORRIBLE way to be with your offspring! And to this Dad, you are now REAPING what you sowed! What did I get out of going to the Navy? It wasn’t discipline, because I rebelled there too, and didn’t get along with my ‘superior’ authoritarian overlords. And after six years, I was discharged ‘general under honorable’. What a load of B.S. that all was!! I shed it all like a dead skin on a snake! What was the one thing I DID get from going into military training? That Navy stands for, “Never Again Volunteer Yourself”!

  • Jim

    Unfortunately, this type of incident has become common place in our society. Someone does something petty and some cops blows them away. Then people make excuses for the cop, like “They are trained to end the situation”. They’re also trained to take a life as LAST resort. Some kid goes joy-riding and ends up dead as a result of an officer’s decision to fire 6 rounds when the kid doesn’t turn the engine off? Yep – let’s defend the cop. He’s a frigging hero! Saved God only knows how many people from getting killed by the kid behind the wheel. I wonder: What would Jesus do?

  • adina

    stop blaming every one but the young man. he did something wrong, put others in harms way and had to be stopped.why do we try to put blame on everyone else? if he didn’t get shot we would all be against him. he was a punk. he had a disregard for the law and was stopped from hurting others. sad he died but he could have prevented that himself.

  • Chris

    Is any wonder the Russian federation and european union issuing a travel advisory for the United States……..they issued a travel advisory not to travel here because “US law enforcement is on an unprecedented killing spree” since 2007 us law enforcement killed 5,000 people that never had charges filed against them…..