‘I thought he was going to hit me,’ officer who shot Overland Park teen told investigators

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Three years after an Overland Park police officer shot and killed 17-year-old John Albers as he backed out of his garage, the city has released a report from the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team on the shooting.

The report is 498 pages long, including at least 91 pages that are completely redacted.

But it also provides the perspective of four Overland Park police officers directly involved in the shooting.

Thursday was the first time we’ve heard their accounts of what happened on January 20, 2018 — the night John Albers died.

OFFICER CLAYTON JENISON

Clayton Jenison is the officer who fired the shots that killed 17-year-old Albers.

Jenison no longer works for the Overland Park Police Department. He was allowed to resign after the Johnson County district attorney decided not to charge him in connection with the deadly shooting.

During an interview after the shooting, Jenison said he knew he was being dispatched to a situation where someone was threatening to harm themselves and arrived at the Albers home with lights and sirens on.

Jenison told investigators he met Officer Ryan Newlon at the house, and they approached together before Newlon went back to his car for a cellphone.

Jenison moved closer to the garage door, he said during the interview, because he felt it would allow him to cover the front door more effectively.

He also told investigators that he didn’t know Albers’ intentions, that they could be “self-harm” or “homicidal tendencies.”

As he moved toward the garage, the garage door started to open, according to Jenison, and he unholstered his service weapon. He said he didn’t think anyone was in the minivan, but then he noticed the brake lights were on.

Jenison told investigators that the van started moving backward. He said he told the driver to stop several times. He said he started running backward because he was “afraid he was going to hit me.” That threat is the reason Jenison said he fired the first time, according to the report.

Investigators asked how close Jenison was to the van. He said he didn’t know for sure but that it was “pretty close.” He continued and said that he felt the van was going fast enough to be a threat and cause bodily harm. He admitted firing two or three more shots, but said he wasn’t sure why he stopped.

Jenison reported that he’d fired his weapon, but said the van accelerated in reverse rapidly toward him. He said he ended up directly behind the van and the van continued toward him.

He fired again because he believed he was going to be hit. Jenison told investigators that he continued firing until the van started moving forward and he no longer felt threatened.

After the shooting, Jenison said he broke down and was very emotional, crying and, at one point, dry heaving.

Jenison commented that his intentions were not to shoot Albers but instead to get him the help he needed.

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