City of Ames settles with estate of man shot by police after car chase


Brandi Boyett/Iowa State Daily

Tyler Comstock, 19 of Boone, and driver of the stolen Spring Green Lawn Care truck that sped through campus, was taken to Mary Greeley Medical Center at 10:42 a.m. on Monday. There, he was pronounced dead, due to shots sustained in his head and chest. 

Danielle Ferguson

The city of Ames has agreed to a settlement with the estate of Tyler Comstock, who was killed by an Ames police officer after a car chase that ended on Central Campus in November 2013.

The $225,000 settlement resolves Comstock’s parents wrongful death claim against the city, the police department and Officer Adam McPherson, who shot Tyler Comstock, on behalf of their son’s estate, according to the Ames Tribune.

During an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation review of the shooting in 2013, Officer Adam McPherson went on administrative leave. Story County Attorney Stephen Holmes declared McPherson acted “reasonably under very difficult circumstances” a few days after the incident.

Susan Gwiasda, city spokeswoman, told the Ames Tribune Friday that a claim had been filed with the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, the city’s liability insurance company.

The city is responsible for $25,000, with the insurance company responsible for the remainder, Gwiasda told the Ames Tribune. 

“It is ICAP’s determination that the settlement is preferable to the potential emotional toll and litigation costs if this dispute were to be pursued in court,” Gwiasda said in a statement to the Ames Tribune.

Tyler Comstock, 19, of Boone, had been arguing with his father, James Comstock, the morning of Nov. 4, 2013, after which he took his father’s Spring-Green Lawn Care truck. James reported the truck stolen to police.

“I have a citizen who has a Spring-Green truck with a trailer who reports his 19-year-old son just stole the truck and that it’s headed south on Grand. They were working together, son got mad at his dad, and hopped in the truck and just took off,” said an Ames police dispatcher on the audio recording.

Police identified the vehicle and tried to conduct a traffic stop. 

“The vehicle’s not stopping,” an Ames officer said on the audio recording. “We are westbound on South 4th Street coming up to Beach.”

After Tyler backed the truck’s attached trailer onto a police car, sending the trailer onto a sidewalk near Richardson Court, he drove the wrong way on Morrill Road onto Central Campus, through a Homecoming banner and into a tree near Mackay Hall.

Officers exited their vehicles, sidearms drawn, and approached the truck, and demanded Tyler shut off the vehicle. But he kept revving the engine. 

McPherson yelled commands to stop the engine, before six shots were fired, one of which hit Comstock in the head, and one in the chest. Comstock was taken to Mary Greeley Medical Center at about 10:45 a.m. and was later pronounced dead.  

In a previous interview with the Iowa State Daily, Shari Comstock, Tyler’s mother, referred to a quote from the police scanner when an unidentified Ames Police officer from dispatch said, “We know the suspect, so we can probably back it off.”

“I don’t understand [why this happened] when I blatantly heard them say, ‘Hey, we know who this is. It’s a kid, back off.’ I don’t get it,” Shari told the Daily in a previous interview after listening to the audio tape.