Police Say John Michael Keen Reached For Air Pistol

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email
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State police now say the gun a Pike County robbery suspect allegedly reached for when they shot him was fake.

Authorities stand by their decision to shoot, but the man's family wonders if the situation could have been handled differently.

Just one day after burying their 26 year old son, John and Sharon Keen wonder if he had to die at all.

"He's not been the best that ever was, but you know, who is?" John Keen said.

State police say they shot and killed John Michael Keen after he robbed a pharmacy and led them on a police chase.

Officers say his partner in crime, Misty Damron surrendered, but say Keen refused to get out of the car and reached for what they thought was a gun, so they fired.

"Unfortunately, they don't have time to be able to look at the firearm's make and model and what kind of caliber it is," Trooper Elliott Gollihue said.

Police now say that gun was an air pistol. But investigators say it's hard to tell the difference and say officers on scene had no way of knowing.

"They only had a short time period to react," Trooper Gollihue said.

It's little consolation for Heen's parents.

"I just don't want people thinking he's the villain they're making him out to be," Sharon Keen said.

The Keen's say John Michael had problems with drugs, but say he was trying to get help and go into rehab, right up until the day he died.

"The night he was killed, they called and had his bed ready. I said, well, it's too late now honey," John Keen said.

The Keen's now have John Michael's five year old daughter to raise.

"She can never ask for her daddy no more. He'll never be there to see her grow-up," Sharon said.

Police say they had no choice but to shoot, but the Keen's say they still wonder everyday.

State police are still investigating the shooting.

The two officers who fired shots are still on administrative duty.


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