The Johnson County District Attorney’s office says it will not bring charges against the man who fatally shot 44-year-old Merriam resident Santos Thompson in his family’s driveway in the early hours of Aug. 24.
Police took the shooter, reportedly a ride-sharing driver who had picked Thompson up to take him to his home in the 6800 block of Mastin, into custody for questioning following the incident, but he was released a short time later. Merriam police concluded their investigation and forwarded the report to the district attorney’s office for review early this fall. After extensive review of the facts in the case, said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe Monday, prosecutors did not feel charges were warranted on account of Kansas’s self-defense laws.
“Under Kansas law, you can now stand your ground,” Howe said. “If you perceive that an individual is about to hurt you, you have a right to use force to protect yourself.”
Howe declined to provide specifics about the incident, including whether Thompson was in possession of a weapon at the time of the shooting. The district attorney’s office rejected the Shawnee Mission Post’s request for the Merriam police department’s incident report, saying that “the requested records are criminal investigation records and, as such, they are not required to be disclosed under the Kansas Open Records Act.” The identity of the man who fatally shot Thompson has not been released.
Howe said that in such cases, prosecutors have to apply a test as to whether it was reasonable for the shooter to believe they were under immediate threat.
“What I can say is that for the individual that used deadly force, there was a reasonable belief on his part that he needed to use self defense,” Howe said.
The investigation is officially closed, though Howe said that if additional information comes to light, it could be reopened.
Thompson is survived by his parents Ed and Mary Thompson of Merriam as well as his daughter, Mya Thompson, and three siblings. Funeral services for Thompson were held in late August.