WAVERLY, Ohio (WCMH) – A Pike County family is anguishing over the death of a young man.
Robert Rooker was shot and killed by two Pike County deputies at around midnight Saturday after deputies said he wouldn’t stop and pull over for speeding.
“They was shooting at him before he got here, it’s just a damn traffic violation,” shouted one of Rooker’s family members who gathered outside of their house on Field Hollow Road near Latham.
“They was chasing him and he wouldn’t stop because he was scared and then they backed him into a creek and then they opened fire on him,” said another woman.
But the Pike County prosecutor says there’s much more to the story.
Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk said Rooker wasn’t shot for speeding, but for trying to hit the deputies with his pick-up truck. He said Rooker had already rammed their cruisers.
“Preliminarily, everything I’ve seen it’s 100 percent justified,” he said. “They acted lawfully they really didn’t have any other choice.”
The two deputies who opened fire have a combined 28 years on the force. Their cruisers did not have dash cameras.
Rooker’s family said he was likely scared and was trying to get away, or at least get back home.
“He just didn’t want to get pulled over, he didn’t have a license,” said Thomas Frisby, a friend of Rooker.
“He was a good kid and he was kind and he would do anything for anybody in the world and I just want him back” said Rooker’s stepmother, Sylvia Walker.
Junk says the chase lasted up to 15 miles.
“A vehicle is as much of a deadly weapon as a firearm and even deadlier you can do a lot more damage with a vehicle than a gun, absolutely,” Junk said.
Rooker was on parole out of prison for a theft crime that Junk says he personally prosecuted.