From: Office of the Chief of Police
Case or Incident: #191229-001
JPD is releasing the following videos and photographs from the December 29, 2019, incident with Kelly Stephens:
The first video is from the patrol car driven by Officer Esbenshade, which does not have audio recording feature. This video begins with Officer Esbenshade parked on Yandukin Drive, when he is dispatched to Cinema Drive upon a report of “shots fired.” Upon arrival to Cinema Drive, the patrol car’s dashcam shows a group of people under ambient light from an apartment building, with one person later identified as Kelly Stephens holding an unidentified slender device. Two other people are backing away from Mr. Stephens. Mr. Stephens walks towards the front of the patrol car after Officer Esbenshade approaches. Officer Esbenshade then retreats backwards out of view of the camera. Prior to advancing off camera and the video ending, Mr. Stephens begins to swing the rope/chain over his head towards Officer Esbenshade.
The second video is footage taken from Officer Esbenshade’s body worn camera. In this footage, and as described in the State’s Office of Special Prosecutions letter dated March 6, 2020, Officer Esbenshade exits his patrol car upon arrival at the Chinook Apartments and goes to the patrol vehicle trunk to retrieve his patrol rifle. Officer Esbenshade then approaches the group seen on the patrol car’s dashcam. The camera records the following interactions between Mr. Stephens and Officer Esbenshade, including Mr. Stephens’ threats towards Officer Esbenshade. After retreating and requesting back-up through the use of the statement “Step it up,” Officer Esbenshade fires one round at Mr. Stephens. Approximately 43 seconds elapses from the time that Officer Esbenshade exits his patrol car to the time he fires one shot at Mr. Stephens.
Two photographs are being provided of the device used by Mr. Stephens. The rope/chain was approximately 70 inches long. Attached to the end of the rope is a carabiner. Balled up in the carabiner is a linked chain. The link chain is similar to a timing chain used in an automotive engine.
JPD extends its condolences to the Stephens’ family for Mr. Stephen’s death.
All factual allegations contained in this release are based upon preliminary investigation and are subject to change or clarification as the investigation continues. Any charges reported in this release are merely accusations and all persons named in this release are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.