This article discusses an apparent mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline available 24/7. To reach the 24/7 Crisis Text Helpline, text 4HOPE to 741741.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus police officer who fatally shot a pedestrian early Saturday as he was lunging at the officer with a broken bottle has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of a state investigation.
On Tuesday, Columbus police released body-camera footage from the incident and the identity of the person who was shot. Because the person appeared to be going through a mental health crisis, NBC4 has decided not to include his name in this report and not to show the full body-camera video.
Police said a truck driver called 911 to alert them to a man who looked like he might jump into traffic on a stretch of U.S. 23 near Rowe Road about three miles south of Interstate 270.
The officer who responded is a 16-year veteran of the force whose name is not being released, with Columbus police saying it’s protected information under Marsy’s Law, which covers crime victims’ rights. He arrived about 1:10 a.m. and interacted with the man for about four minutes before the shooting.
Seeing the man getting close to the roadway, he said, “Hey, buddy, are you OK? Hey, walk over here toward me. I don’t want you to get struck or anything.”
The officer followed by asking the man if he was OK two other times and telling him twice to take a deep breath and calm down. The officer called for backup over his radio, giving the police code that the person may have been undergoing a mental health crisis.
After that, the man for the first time lunged toward the officer, who was shining a handheld flashlight toward the man and noted a broken bottle in his hand. The officer told the man not to lunge, and the man can be heard telling the officer three times to shoot him.
“No, no, no, I don’t want to do that,” the officer responded. “I want to help you, buddy.”
The man walked in and out of the roadway again before coming at the officer a final time. The officer, who had switched out his flashlight for his gun, fired three times.
The officer was shown rendering aid until medics arrived about four minutes later.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into the shooting, as it does all Columbus police shootings per an agreement between the agencies.
Searches of Franklin County court and jail records showed that the man who was shot had no known criminal history.