TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office has released its review of a police shooting that resulted in the death of a man armed with a knife in Topeka.

Christopher Kelley was killed by Topeka Police Department officers after approaching a group of officers while armed with a knife on June 29, 2022. Officers attempted to use bean bag rounds to subdue Kelley but, after charging at a group of three officers, they opened fire and shot him multiple times.

The review of the incident was conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation which presented the case to the district attorney on July 21. Final reports of the incident were received by the district attorney on Aug. 23. The consensus of the report was that the actions of the officers involved in the incident were lawful.

Deadly force from law enforcement is authorized if the officer reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the officer or another, according to the district attorney. If the actions were not reasonable, resulting in a violation of the deceased individual’s Constitutional rights, then the district attorney must decide if the actions rise to the level of criminal conduct that can be prosecuted.

In determining reasonableness, the district attorney must consider the severity of the crime being investigated, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others and whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.

The investigation into the death of Kelley noted that he was trespassing on railroad property, was armed with a knife, had assaulted an employee of the railroad and there was a nearby residential area where law enforcement had to keep Kelley from entering in his condition. The threat level of the situation escalated when Kelley began using the knife to inflict injury to himself while disobeying law enforcement commands and eventually wielding the knife in a threatening manner. Finally, the threat level rose nearly an hour later when Kelley raised the knife and charged at officers.

Based on this analysis, the district attorney said that the officers involved were justified in the use of force and they will not be subject to criminal prosecution. The district attorney said that Kelley’s family was notified of the decision.

The incident which resulted in Kelley’s death occurred at 8:57 a.m. on June 24 in the area of southeast 4th Street and southeast Holliday Street. Officers were called to the area on a report of a man trespassing on railroad property and threatening a BNSF employee with a knife.

Officers found Kelley at the scene and were told by the reporting party that Kelley had thrown rocks at him, approached him with a knife and eventually began to cut himself with his knife prior to the arrival of law enforcement. A perimeter was set up around Kelley to keep him from entering a nearby neighborhood.

About an hour passed as officers attempted to negotiate with Kelley to get him to let go on the knife. Kelley appeared to be under the influence or suffering from a mental health crisis and was not responsive to any of the efforts by officers. Bean bag rounds along with 40mm impact rounds were used on Kelley to get him to comply.

These methods had no effect on Kelley and he continued to disobey commands and inflict injuries to himself with the knife. The incident ended at 9:59 a.m. when Kelley began screaming and charged at officers with the knife extended over his head. Several officers fired their weapons at Kelley who ultimately died from his injuries. An autopsy report noted that Kelley had methamphetamine and cannabinoid in his system.