2 probationary officers resign after facing criticism for not shooting armed suspect during pursuit
The armed suspect allegedly shot another individual during an argument at a gas station and fled the scene before encountering the officers
By Ashley Silver
FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Two Fairfield Township probationary officers, hired within the past year, recently resigned after being reprimanded for not shooting an armed suspect during a police pursuit.
FOX 19 News reported the armed suspect, 25-year-old Stephaun Jones, was eventually killed by Hamilton police officers after the probationary officers refused to do so.
According to the news platform, the incident began when Jones shot another individual during an argument at a gas station and fled the scene. A good Samaritan and local resident, Jeff Black, witnessed the shooting and began to trail the individual, while on the phone with Butler County dispatchers reporting his whereabouts.
The suspect eventually made his way to Fairfield Township, where Butler County and Fairfield Township police responded to the scene.
Black, still on with the 911 dispatcher, said, “They’re telling him to stop. He won’t stop. He’s running into the woods and they’ve got their guns drawn,” FOX 19 reported.
The suspect then flashed a gun in the direction of the officers, and Hamilton police responded by shooting the suspect, while Fairfield Township officers Austin Reed and Mark Bartlett did not use their guns to open fire. The suspect later died at a local hospital.
Fairfield Township Chief of Police Robert Chabali told FOX errors were made during the pursuit.
“They observed a weapon in the suspect’s right hand, and for one reason or another, they didn’t stop that threat,” Chabali told the media outlet. “So, one of the officers mistakenly deployed a TASER, which is not the appropriate weapon when you’re facing a firearm, a lethal firearm.”
The chief told the media outlet the officers voluntarily resigned.
“They’re good people, but at some point and time, they made a decision that they couldn’t take a human life if they had to, and the best thing for them to do is move on,” the police chief told FOX 19.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the shooting.