A Missouri police officer was charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a woman after a chase.
Israel Guidry also faces one count of armed criminal action in the September 2019 death of Angela Perkins, of Cotter, Arkansas. No attorney is listed for Guidry in online court records.
The charges come amid increased scrutiny of officer-involved killings since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd was a black man who died after a white police officer pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he pleaded for air and eventually stopped moving. Perkins was white.
Howell County prosecutor Michael Hutchings didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press, nor did Mountain View police.
A Missouri State Highway Patrol investigator wrote in the probable cause statement that Guidry said he attempted to stop Perkins after she nearly struck his vehicle while pulling onto a highway. He said he suspected that she was intoxicated and pursued her from Mountain View, which is located about 110 miles (177.03 kilometers) west of Springfield, into rural Howell County, where he lost sight of her.
As he returned to Mountain View, where he works, he spotted her vehicle in a ditch and approached it. Guidry said he was concerned the driver had been in a crash, the probable cause statement said. He said the truck appeared to be struck and that the driver was rocking back and forth in what appeared to be an effort to free the vehicle. He told the driver to “shut it down” and held his gun at his side.
Guidry said at one point, the driver asked him “You going to shoot me,” to which Guidry responded “I will if I have to.” Guidry said that the vehicle then began traveling in reverse into a residential driveway. Guidry stated that he stepped back in order to avoid being struck by the vehicle, then re-positioned himself in the roadway.
Guidry said he then began to fire as the woman accelerated toward him because he was in fear of his life He said that as he fired, he could see the driver duck down and try to get under the dash, the patrol investigator wrote.
Guidry said that once he reached his vehicle, he radioed that shots had been fired, then drove his patrol vehicle down to where the truck had overturned and helped remove Perkins from the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Five bullet holes were found in Perkins’ vehicle, including in the hood, windshield and passenger side. An autopsy determined that one of the bullets hit her in the lower back, according to the probable cause statement.
Although he was wearing his body camera at the time, Guidry said he was unsure if it was activated and no video was found. There was also no in-car video of the pursuit or the shooting that followed.
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH, The Associated Press