ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A St. Petersburg police officer was justified in killing an armed suspect during a September encounter, according to State Attorney Bruce Bartlett.
In a letter released on Nov. 15, Bartlett said the State Attorney’s Office concluded that Officer Stephen York killed suspect Cody Kiley in a “justifiable homicide.”
On Sept. 12, officers got a call from a woman at around 3:00 a.m., who said she was hiding in the bathroom with her grandchild after Kiley threatened her with a gun. According to the letter, the victims and Kiley were related.
The grandmother said she woke up to Kiley screaming and breaking items in her granddaughter’s bedroom. The woman took the child to her room, but Kiley began following her, screaming and putting a gun to her head.
Officers arrived at the scene at around 3:11 a.m. and found Kiley on the west side of the house between the home and the fence. Police said he was holding a gun when they found him.
The responding officers told the suspect to put the gun down and show his hands, but he refused to follow their commands, the state attorney’s office said.
It was at this point that York approached with his K9, Loki, and commanded the suspect to drop his gun.
“Having no response, Officer York released his K-9 Loki who attacked Kiley’s ankle with no apparent effect to Kiley,” Bartlett said. “Loki then jumped to Kiley’s chest area. Kiley, still holding the gun, turned towards Officer York at which time Officer York, believing Cody Kiley was going to shoot him or the other officers, fired his weapon at Kiley, striking him five times, which resulted in his death.”
Another officer tried to give Kiley CPR after he was shot. According to the state attorney, the officer noticed the gun had its safety on and only had one live round in the chamber.
An autopsy done on the suspect found that Kiley had been intoxicated at the time.
“Toxicology reports prepared in conjunction with the autopsy revealed that Kiley had
an alcohol level of .196 vitreous (.305 chest blood),” the letter said. “In addition, he had a high THC content of 30 ng/ml.”
Bartlett said the adult victim said Kiley had been behaving strangely in the days before the shooting, taking her gun from her nightstand, making suicidal statements, and complaining of living in pain from injuries he got in a car crash.
“She also indicated that on Saturday, September 10, 2022, Cody Kiley began acting weird and
made several bizarre statements to the effect, ‘The earth isn’t round’ and that [she] ‘wasn’t human anymore because she had gotten the Covid vaccine,'” Bartlett’s letter said. “[The victim] also indicated that on the night of the incident, Cody Kiley had fired one gunshot into the wall of her bedroom.”
The state attorney said an examination of Kiley’s phone showed chat messages from Sept. 10 where the suspect said he relapsed after two years of sobriety and was “on the verge of suicide.” His messages also contained references to “negative voice(s) in his head.”
Upon examining the evidence, the State Attorney’s Office determined York had reason to believe Kiley was a threat to himself and other officers when he turned toward them with the gun.