A woman who shot and killed an off-duty firefighter who was brawling on the ground with her boyfriend will not face charges, prosecutors in Missouri announced.
Anthony ‘Tony’ Santi, 41, died on October 6 outside a gas station and liquor store in Independence, Missouri – a suburb of Kansas City.
He was shot in the back by an unnamed woman while wrestling her boyfriend, Ja’Von L. Taylor, 23, at around 2:30pm.
On Tuesday, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office said the woman would not face charges – after concluding that her actions were indeed reasonable.
They found that they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she acted outside Missouri law when she shot and killed Santi.
Anthony Santi, 41, was shot and killed on October 6 as he tackled a man outside a gas station in Independence, Missouri – a suburb of Kansas City
Taylor is on the ground, with Santi on top of him. Taylor’s girlfriend reaches across to grab Taylor’s gun
‘We grieve with the family and community over this tragic loss of life of Mr Santi,’ the prosecutor’s office wrote in a statement to The Star.
‘Missouri law governs this case, specifically self-defense and defense of others, leading us to decline charges after a careful review.’
In the state, people can use guns as self defense if they reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to defend themselves or others.
Missouri is also a Stand Your Ground state – meaning that you are not required by law to retreat before using defensive force.
Kevin Jamison, author of Missouri Weapons and Self-Defense Law, said: ‘Technically it’s called the defense of justification and your justification is you are saving the life of another person.’
Under these rules, prosecutors decided that the unnamed woman was within her rights to act how she did on the fateful day.
The fatal incident started when the woman’s boyfriend entered a gas station to buy cigars.
Taylor became angry when the clerk in the gas station said she did not have the product he wanted. She then asked him to leave.
Santi, who was off-duty and in the store at the time, stepped in to help the cashier, and asked Taylor to leave.
The pair began scuffling, and the fight continued outside. In the forecourt, the two men were on the ground fighting.
The woman, in red pants, screams at Santi to get off her boyfriend, yelling that he is ‘killing him’
The woman stands over the pair, yelling at Santi to let Taylor go. When he refuses, the woman opens fire. She will not face charges after prosecutors concluded she feared for Taylor’s life
Footage shot by a bystander shows Santi, who is white, overpowering Taylor, a slender black man, who squirms on the floor.
Taylor’s girlfriend appears and can be seen in the footage screaming: ‘Stop!’
The boyfriend then hands her a gun in his pocket, and she takes the weapon.
Taylor, a convicted felon found guilty of armed robbery in May 2019, was barred from possessing a gun.
‘Stop!’ she screams at Santi, as he tried to put Taylor in a head lock. ‘Let him go! My kids are in the car! You’re killing him!’
The woman then opens fire, shooting Santi in the back.
Kansas City Fire Department said they were shocked and saddened by the death of Santi – father to Jillian Santi, and a lifelong Kansas City resident who joined the agency in 2011.
‘As a close-knit organization, we are shocked by yesterday’s tragic loss of FF Santi, and my deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends,’ said Fire Chief Donna Lake.
His obituary said he ‘dedicated to helping people through his role’ as a firefighter and EMT.
His daughter was ‘the light of his life,’ and he had ‘a vast love for nature and being outdoors.’