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State attorney: St. Pete officer was justified in shooting, killing armed man

The state attorney said Officer York "was in the lawful performance of his legal duty."

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A St. Petersburg police officer was justified in shooting and killing an armed man during an incident in September, according to State Attorney Bruce Bartlett.

The shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 12 at a home in the area of 20th Avenue North near 45th Street North.  

Police said they responded to the home after a woman called authorities to say her son, 31-year-old Cody Kiley, had gotten ahold of her gun and was threatening her.  

The woman told police she, in fear for her life, had taken her 4-year-old granddaughter to the bathroom and locked the door.

When officers arrived, they said Kiley was in the backyard of the house, holding a gun and ignoring their repeated commands to put his hands up.

One of the responding officers, Officer Stephen York, approached Kiley with a flashlight, identified himself and commanded the man to drop his gun. When Kiley refused, York released K-9 Loki who attacked Kiley's ankle, according to police.

Investigators said Kiley, still holding the gun, then turned toward York, who believed Kiley was going to shoot him or the other responding officers. York fired his gun, striking Kiley five times and resulting in his death, police said.

Per standard protocol, York was placed on administrative leave.

RELATED: St. Petersburg police officer shoots, kills man armed with gun, deputies say

During the investigation, Kiley's mother said she noticed her son acting strangely in the days leading up to the shooting. This included Kiley taking his mother's gun from her nightstand and making "suicidal statements," State Attorney Bartlett wrote in a letter.

Out of concern, the woman reportedly moved her gun from her nightstand to her car. However, she believes Kiley heard her telling her mother she had hidden the gun in the vehicle.

According to Bartlett, the woman also told investigators Kiley made several bizarre comments to the effect of "the Earth isn't round" and his mother "wasn't human" because she had gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

Investigators learned that Kiley had fired one gunshot into the wall of his mother's bedroom on the night of the incident, the state attorney added. 

They also examined Kiley's phone. It contained reportedly messages in which the man said he had been sober for two years but relapsed. Kiley also referred to negative voices in his head and said he was on the verge of suicide, according to Bartlett.

The state attorney ultimately determined "that the death of Cody Kiley was the result of having been shot by Officer Stephen York, who was in the lawful performance of his legal duty, and that the shooting was Justifiable Homicide..."

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