Video shows Ohio police fatally shoot suspect holding woman at knifepoint

The man had barricaded himself in a bedroom where he was holding a knife to his estranged wife


By April Helms
Akron Beacon Journal

AKRON, Ohio — Officer worn-camera footage released Wednesday night by the Akron Police Department shows the sequence of action from the time that authorities entered a Kenmore house through the fatal shooting of a man who was holding a knife to his estranged wife.

The incident occurred Dec. 23 on the second floor of a rental home in the 2400 block of 26th Street Southwest in Akron's Kenmore neighborhood. Akron dispatch took the call at 3:43 a.m., and according to information from the posted video, officers responded within about four minutes.

The videos, taken from four bodycams, show officers entering the home and going upstairs to the bedroom where James W. Gross, 58, had barricaded himself with his wife. Police can be heard demanding that Gross open the bedroom door. The door is pushed closed several times before responding officers finally break through it. Gross is seen holding his wife at knifepoint. The woman's boyfriend and a dog are also seen in the bedroom.

In the video, an officer orders Gross to put his hands up and drop the knife. Gross doesn't comply, and one officer can be seen firing a Taser. When Gross still doesn't release the knife, a second officer fires a gun twice. Gross drops the knife and slumps.

Gross was pronounced dead at the scene. According to information from the Summit County Medical Examiner, he died from gunshot wounds to the head and neck.

The woman was reportedly uninjured, according to police.

Events unfolding in the bodycam video align with descriptions of what was taking place as heard in the 911 call recording.

In June, Akron City Council passed a law requiring police videos in cases involving use of deadly force to be posted online within seven days for the public to view. The incident two days before Christmas was the first test of the new law, and the video was posted Wednesday just hours ahead of the one-week deadline.

The video was posted on akroncops.org under its APD Critical Incident Videos link, where users can view it on the Akron Police Department's YouTube Page and also listen to the 911 call recording.

Call logs show officers have responded to the location a dozen times in the past two years for domestic violence and fights. Before her door was kicked open, the woman told the 911 dispatcher this was at least the seventh incident involving her husband.

In the 911 call recording, the woman told the dispatcher that she had a restraining order against Gross. The woman told dispatch that she and her boyfriend were locked in one bedroom, and her disabled brother was in a separate bedroom. She added that Gross was armed with knives and a bat.

According to information from the police video, the officer who fired the Taser and the officer who fired the gun both have about seven years of police experience. In accordance with department policy, the two were placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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