New details in shooting of Ohio undercover cop

The wounded officer, who was federally deputized, was a primary investigator into the Booby Hill Gang

By Lou Grieco and Doug Page
Dayton Daily News

DAYTON, Ohio — The discovery of an armed man crouched in the dark between two cars next to a bar entrance sparked a brief foot chase and shooting that seriously wounded the suspect and a Dayton undercover gang detective.

Two days later, top law enforcement officials still decline to answer key questions posed by the Dayton Daily News, including who shot whom, the identity of the officers involved and the number of shots fired. "This is a complex, detailed investigation," said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl at a Monday news conference. He said authorities are awaiting ballistic, forensic and video evidence.

At least two officers — a Trotwood police sergeant and a Dayton police officer — are on paid administrative leave, Biehl said. The shootings involved the Safe Streets Task Force, an FBI effort pairing federal agencies with local law enforcement to target gangs and drug-related violence.

Also Monday, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted Deontay Cochran, the 21-year-old suspect who was shot, on charges related to a Feb. 17 arrest.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, at the request of Trot-wood police, is heading the criminal investigation of the shooting, which happened at 1:30 a.m. near Leo's II bar in Trotwood, as well as the administrative investigation for Trotwood.

Sheriff Phil Plummer said Trotwood officers were called to the bar near the intersection of Salem Avenue and Wolf Pike on a report of a fight. A uniformed Trotwood officer reported spotting Cochran crouched down between two cars near the bar's main entrance. Seeing Cochran armed with a semiautomatic pistol, the officer yelled, "Gun, gun," and Cochran reportedly fled on foot.

The Safe Streets Task Force had Leo's II under surveillance for possible gang and narcotics activities prior to the shooting, FBI Supervisory Agent Tim Ferguson said at the news conference. He said Cochran was not the target of the surveillance.

Ferguson said the task force notified both Trotwood and Dayton of the operation in advance. He said the task force was working in conjunction with uniformed Dayton and Trotwood officers, who made traffic stops on several vehicles seen leaving the bar prior to the shooting. Ferguson said those traffic stops resulted in five handguns recovered and one person in custody.

When Cochran ran, he was pursued by uniformed Trotwood officers who had responded to Leo's, as well as the undercover officers with the task force, Plummer said. The chase ended in front of a vacant store when Cochran confronted the Dayton detective and the Trotwood sergeant. Both officers opened fire, striking Cochran once in the left arm. The Dayton detective was shot in the upper torso. The officials declined further comment on the detective's wounds.

Plummer said a semiautomatic pistol with a 30-shot extended magazine was recovered. He said it was not yet known whether Cochran had fired the weapon, nor how many shots were fired.

Trotwood police Capt. John Porter said the sergeant is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation. Such action is standard procedure when an officer fires his weapon, Porter said. In March, another Trotwood officer was put on paid administrative leave after shooting and wounding a suspect. That administrative investigation is continuing.

Biehl said another Dayton officer, not involved in the shooting, also is on administrative leave. Biehl declined to give any further details, citing the ongoing internal investigation of that officer's actions.

Saturday's shooting is the first time a Dayton officer has been hit by gunfire since 2008, according to Dayton Daily News records.

Both the Dayton detective and Cochran remained in Miami Valley Hospital on Monday. The detective is in serious condition in intensive care, but was able to sit up this morning, Biehl said. Biehl did not know Cochran's condition.

Biehl said the Dayton detective's son, also a Dayton police officer, was one of the first officers to respond to the shooting scene. Biehl said the Dayton detective was placed in the son's cruiser and rushed to the hospital while colleagues administered first aid.

Cochran had been arrested at least once — on July 11, 2010 — by the Safe Streets Task Force, according to Dayton police records.

Cochran was a passenger in a car that was pulled over Feb. 17 for speeding, and police found there was a warrant for his arrest.

The wounded officer, who was federally deputized, was a primary investigator into the Booby Hill Gang, a year-long probe that also involved the DEA and the FBI. A federal grand jury March 19 handed up indictments of seven suspected gang members on charges of heroin distribution.

Copyright 2012 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

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