Blue Springs teen killed by police planned fatal confrontation

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- Police say the 16-year-old boy killed by police gunfire when he rushed at officers early Wednesday morning, left a note outlining his plan to be shot by police. Family members have identified the teen as Robert Keil, a student from Blue Springs South High School.

The shooting happened when police responded to a 911 call at about 5:00 a.m. about a burglary-in-progress at S.W. 20th and Still Meadows Lane. The suspect was described as a white male with long hair, wearing a black hoodie.

Sgt. Bill Lowe with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said when two Blue Springs police officers arrived at the scene, the teen matching that description initiated contact with the officers. The officers ordered the suspect to follow their commands,  but they say he charged at them with the knife. Fearing for their safety, they opened fire.

Investigators suspected it was Robert Keil who made the 911 call and by Wednesday afternoon they say they confirmed that.

"During the course of the investigation, a suicide note was found inside the house, which indicated the man had planned to create a confrontation with law enforcement," Sgt. Bill Lowe said in a news release sent out late Wednesday.

Richard Steensma, pastor of Timothy Lutheran Church, spoke on behalf of the Keil family on Wednesday. He said they are not angry at officers, but grieving and confused.

Pastor Richard Steensma,Timothy Luthern Church, speaking on behalf of the Keil family

Pastor Richard Steensma,Timothy Lutheran Church, speaking on behalf of the Keil family

"This was not a situation where they have any anger towards them, the anger and frustration is towards losing their child," Steensma said. "So they are very concerned about the officers and their families and that they are able to process what has happened today, as well."

The pastor says Keil was quiet, was always thinking and had a great sense of humor. His family said there were no signs that he was in crisis.

Others who knew Keil are thinking similar thoughts and trying to understand why he charged at police with a knife.

"He doesn`t seem like the guy to do it. He seems like a very just chill, cool guy, and it`s really a shame," said Isaac Kenrick, a fellow student at Blue Springs South, where Keil was a sophomore.

"It`s like, you never think it is going to happen to you... this close to home because you hear about it all across the country and you just never think that just down the road that something this horrible would happen," said Blue Springs South High School senior Ellie Austin.

Teens who knew Keil from school are troubled by his death.

Teens who knew Keil from school

The Blue Springs School District released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

We are saddened by the loss of one of our students at Blue Springs South High School.  Additional support was available today and will be in the coming days for students and staff coping with this loss. 

"It's quite baffling to think something like this is happening," said Kevin Woods, a neighbor who knows Keil. "It just seems unreal, it seems unlikely that that was really the case, but you never can tell what's going through people's minds or what's really going on in someone's head."

Woods said he's known the boy for about ten years. He called him a good kid and said it was not something he'd expect from him.

The officers involved in the shooting tried to revive Keil after he went down, but they were unsuccessful in saving him.

Sgt. Joe Fanara with the Blue Springs Police Department said both officers involved had less than five years of experience.

The two officers' guns have been confiscated as part of the investigation.

“Psychologically we can’t understand what the motivations were of that individual at that time point in time, but I can say the contact was initiated by that individual with the police,” said Sgt. Bill Lowe with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is leading the investigation.

The investigation is ongoing. Upon completion of the investigation, the report will be sent to the Jackson County prosecutor for review.