No charges filed against Privett

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cassville corporal justified in use of force in June incident

After an almost two-month investigation, Cpl. Donnie Privett of the Cassville Police Department returned to work today after it was ruled his use of forces was justified in the June 10 incident that killed a Cassville man.

According to a press release from Dana Kammerlohr, Cassville police chief, "Upon review of all reports, recordings and photographs submitted to the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Prosecutor Johnnie Cox has determined that Corporal Privett was justified in his use of force in the incident that occurred on June 10, 2014.

The release said based on the investigation, all of the evidence supports Privett's account of the events in which he was attacked by Jonathan Gerster-Thomas. "Based upon this information, the Prosecutor will not be pursuing criminal charges against Corporal Privett, and considers this investigation completed.

Gerster-Thomas, 25, of Cassville, died en route to a Springfield hospital after being shot by Privett when he allegedly attacked the officer.

Kammerlohr said at about 7:30 a.m. on June 10, the Cassville Police Department responded to a 911 call at 600 Old Exeter Road for a disturbance.

According to Kammerlohr, Gerster-Thomas allegedly assaulted Privett with a pipe upon his arrival, forcing Privett to draw his weapon and shoot Thomas.

Privett was placed on paid administrative leave since the incident, pending the results of the investigation, which concluded today.

"I can't comment on what happened until the [Missouri State Highway Patrol] finishes its investigation," Kammerlohr said. "I've been told it can run up to 10 days, but hopefully it won't last that long."

A 20-year employee of the Barry County Sheriff's Department and 5-year chief of police in Cassville, Kammerlohr said she could not remember the last officer-involved shooting in the city, and such incidents rarely occur.

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