Ohio officer praised for restraint, refused to shoot suspect

A New Richmond, Ohio police is praised for using restraint when confronting a suspect.
Courtesy: New Richmond Police Dept.

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio (AP) – NEW RICHMOND, Ohio (AP) – An Ohio police officer is being praised for holding his fire even as a slaying suspect charged him, saying repeatedly, “shoot me.”

WLWT-TV in Cincinnati reported the tense moments were captured Thursday on a body camera worn by New Richmond officer Jesse Kidder.

The video shows Kidder repeatedly backpedaling and telling 27-year-old Michael Wilcox he doesn’t want to shoot him.

“Law enforcement officers all across the nation have to deal with split-second decisions that mean life or death,” Kidder said. “I wanted to be absolutely sure before I used deadly force.”

The New Richmond Police Department Web site says Kidder had been sworn in to join the village police force last April 16, after serving in Iraq as a Marine. One year later, he found himself facing his toughest police challenge so far. Kidder said dispatchers warned him Wilcox could try to force a “suicide by cop.”

“He jumped out and he sprinted toward me. I had my firearm already drawn … and I told him to put his hands up in the air and he was screaming … ‘Shoot me! Shoot me!’ ”

Kidder said he watched Wilcox’s hands and didn’t believe he was going to shoot at him, so he kept yelling back to Wilcox that didn’t want to shoot him. Backup officers arrived and Wilcox surrendered.

“For him to make the judgment call that he did shows great restraint and maturity,” New Richmond Police Chief Randy Harvey said. “This video footage, it eliminated all doubt that this officer would have been justified if in fact it came to a shooting.”

Wilcox is charged with the fatal shooting of his 25-year-old girlfriend, Courtney Fowler, and is a person of interest in a Kentucky slaying. Authorities say he had a violent encounter with Brown County investigators who tried to arrest him before he drove off and headed west toward Cincinnati.

Kidder said a relative gave him the body camera following the deadly officer-involved shooting last year in Ferguson, Missouri. Harvey said he hopes to get funding to buy more for the department in the village some 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati.

Wilcox was being held Saturday in Brown County Jail on $2 million bond. No attorney information was available.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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