MARYSVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — A grand jury ruled a Union County deputy was justified when he shot and killed a 33-year-old man.
Union County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Matejko shot and killed Matthew Todhunter on May 30 after authorities received several 911 calls from people saying Todhunter was in their home with a gun, according to Marysville police. A grand jury found Matejko’s actions were justified, Union County Prosecutor David Phillips said in a news release.
Callers said children were inside the home and that Todhunter told one child this “was the night [Todhunter] was going to die,” Phillips said. Callers also said there was an encounter during which Todhunter pulled a gun on and threatened to shoot his estranged wife.
About 6:30 p.m., Matejko arrived at a Marysville home spotting a truck with Todhunter inside. Todhunter’s girlfriend and her mother were on the scene and told to stand aside, according to Phillips.
The deputy told Todhunter to put his hands up repeatedly, then told him to get out of the car three times, according to bodycam and dashcam released by authorities.
Todhunter got out of the car and pointed to what appeared to be a Glock-style handgun. Within one second of telling Todhunter to drop the gun, Matejko fired at least five shots, dropping Todhunter to the ground.
After the shooting, one of the women yelled at the deputy that Todhunter was holding a BB gun. Authorities confirmed Todhunter was holding a pellet gun.
Emergency crews took Todhunter to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation confirmed Todhunter was suicidal and ruled the manner of death as a suicide and the cause of death being “law enforcement forced action.”
“The statements Todhunter made to his family members immediately prior to the shooting showed his apparent suicidal intentions,” Phillips said in a news release. “Simply put, the deputy was faced with an immediate threat of deadly force and was compelled to respond with deadly force.”
Philips said there was no way the officer could determine this was a “replica firearm.” An officer is justified in using deadly force when there is probable cause for an officer to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm or death, either to the officer or to others – even if he is mistaken, Philips said.