CINCINNATI (WCMH) – A deputy’s use of deadly force on a Sunbury man was deemed reasonable in a second court ruling stemming from a June 2018 incident.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that former Delaware County Deputy Zachary Swick used appropriate action when he shot and killed Brian Puskas, 47, of Delaware.
At 11:25 a.m. on June 6, 2018, deputies responded to a domestic call when a woman said her husband was acting erratically and she feared for her life. Deputies arrived at the 11000 block of Kilbourne Road at 11:32 a.m. and observed several items, including various weapons, scattered about the front yard with Puskas holding a rifle.
After dropping the rifle, but not adhering to the deputies’ request to approach them, surrender, and discuss the situation, they released a canine. Puskas ran behind a tree and picked up a pistol case. When he pulled out a silver gun, Swick shot him at 11:38 a.m.
Puskas was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died.
In 2019 the plaintiff, Puskas’ wife, sued Swick and deputies Troy Gibson and Robert Spring, along with Delaware County. She claimed they did not follow a standard protocol to de-escalate the situation, but rather, escalated it, which resulted in Puskas’ death.
Body cameras confirmed many of the details of the report and the case was eventually dismissed. As well, the U.S. Appeals Court affirmed on Jan. 5 that “the defendant officers’ actions were nonetheless reasonable under the circumstances.”