Grand Jury: Kyle Moore's Revving of His Engine Justified Cop Shooting at Him

In May, we told you about the arrest of Kyle Moore in Greeley following a police chase that got underway after Officer Jobe Costa fired a shot at Moore's vehicle.

A second report featured commentary from Moore's mother, Renee, who was highly critical of the police response in the case — including the officer's decision to fire in a public park crowded with kids even though the main crime listed on Moore's warrant was identity theft.

Nonetheless, a grand jury asked to look into the matter has concluded that no criminal charges should be filed against the officer, because he believed Moore was attempting to use his car as a weapon.

Thanks to a policy change, the Denver Police Department is no longer allowing officers to fire at moving vehicles. This was already Greeley Police Department policy at the time of the Moore shooting, but in a letter describing why he's not pressing charges (see it below), Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke writes that jurors weren't "asked to consider whether or not when Officer Costa discharged his firearm it violated GPD policy and procedure, nor are we to decide the efficacy of attempting this type of arrest in a busy park filled with kids and parents at soccer practice."

On March 31, as we've reported, Greeley police officers were informed that Moore was wanted for identity theft and had three outstanding warrants in his name.

Cut to approximately 6 p.m. on April 9, when members of the Greeley Police Department's special enforcement team learned that Moore was thought to be in the area of Sanborn Park, located at 20131 28th Avenue in Greeley

He was spotted in a Jeep Cherokee a few minutes later. Officers watched Moore, accompanied by a passenger, park the vehicle in a lot on the park's northwest side.

Shortly thereafter, Officer Costa parked his police cruiser in front of the Cherokee, stepped out, approached Moore, who was in the driver's seat, and ordered him to put his hands up.

Moore is said to have initially complied before dropping his hands, revving his engine and taking off in the officer's direction.

The officer, who had drawn his firearm and told Moore, "Don't do it" before the acceleration, stepped out of the way and fired a single shot at Moore's vehicle as it zoomed away, police records say.

At around that time, a mom and her ten-year-old daughter were driving past the police vehicle when the woman heard a gunshot — after which the Cherokee collided with her own ride, a Jeep Wrangler. The two vehicles were briefly locked together; the Wrangler was dragged over a curb and onto a grassy median before the Cherokee broke free.

That's when a police pursuit of Moore got underway. It ended some distance away, near the intersection of 35th Avenue and Highway 34, when a Toyota Corolla smashed into the Cherokee after the latter ran a red light.

The Corolla was heavily damaged and the driver had to be transported to an area hospital for treatment of the injuries she sustained.

As for Moore, a police report says he refused to open the Cherokee's door as officers closed in, putting officers in the position of forcibly extracting him — although that's not the story Kyle told his mom. Renee quotes him as saying the door was stuck and he couldn't open it, "so they eventually shot out the window to pull him out."

He wasn't in great shape, having sustained a serious injury to his eye. "He most likely got glass in it when he flew into his windshield at fifty miles per hour unrestrained," Renee wrote us via e-mail.

Here's a photo of the eye the next day, as shared by Renee.

As for Officer Costa's account of what happened, here's a key passage from the document below:
Moore then revved his engine and drove the Cherokee directly at Officer Costa. Officer Costa stated Moore had enough room to turn right and get out; instead, Moore went strait at him. Officer Costa jumped to the south to get out of the way as Moore turned the wheels and went around him. Moore maneuvered the Cherokee in between Officer Costa's marked patrol vehicle and the tan sedan.

Officer Costa ran north to the rear of his patrol vehicle with his gun drawn. He observed a pedestrian in the parking area standing in the path of the Cherokee. Out of his perpheral vision, Officer Costa also observed the black Jeep Wrangler occupied by a female and what he believed to be her child, moving north through the parking area. Officer Costa stated that after Moore tried to kill him by running him over with the Cherokee, he appeared to have no regard for human life. Officer Costa was concerned for the welfare of the pedestrian in the parking area, as well as the occupants of the Jeep Wrangler.

Officer Costa stated he was approximately fifteen feet away when he fired one shot into the rear passenger window of the fleeing Cherokee, attempting to strike Moore in the head. Officer Moore aimed for the cranial vault in an attempt to affect immediate paralysis to Moore, causing his foot to release pressure on the gas pedal. Officer Costa stated he took the shot to prevent Moore from continuing to utilize his vehicle as a deadly weapon.
Critics of police policies allowing officers to shoot at moving vehicles would take issue with Costa's theory. As they point out, crashes often occur after a suspect is shot or injured and is no longer in control of the vehicle, which tend not to immediately stop under such circumstances.

Fortunately, Moore wasn't killed in the exchange — and he told investigators he never intended to hit Officer Costa.

The grand jury still didn't believe Officer Costa's decision to fire rose to the level of criminality, though. As DA Rourke writes: "In reviewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, it is clear that Kyle Moore revved his engine in an attempt to make Officer Costa believe he was about to collide with him. In this instance, it does not matter whether or not Moore actually intended to hit him. It clearly appeared to Officer Costa that he was about to be hit by Moore" — and even though he wasn't struck, he feared others might be, and acted in a manner he thought would keep them safe.

As such, Rourke points out that "at least nine or more Grand Jurors determined that there was not probable cause to believe that Officer Jobe Costa committed a crime."

We asked Renee Moore about this decision. She responded that she had no comment at this time.

Here's a look at Moore's booking photo, followed by the grand jury report.

Kyle Moore Shooting: Grand Jury Report

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.