Video: Ohio rookie officer shoots man who pointed gun at cops

A grand jury declined to indict an officer who shot and wounded a man earlier this month

By Michael D. Pitman
Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — The Fairfield police officer who shot an armed suspect earlier this month was not indicted by a Butler County grand jury.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the grand jury considered all relevant evidence and testimony surrounding the incident and returned no indictment.

"The incident was captured on the subject officer's body camera and the video is being released for public view," said the prosecutor. "It should be apparent to all that pointing a firearm at a police officer in the performance of his or her duties carries a high probability that lethal force to eliminate the threat will result."

Officer Nick Davis, who has been on the job for less than a year, fired his service weapon at 36-year-old Rodolfo Molina-Hernandez of West Hicks Boulevard in the afternoon of June 5. Molino-Hernandez was found guilty last week in Fairfield Municipal Court of aggravated menacing. He was sentenced to 6 months in jail, though he had two months suspended. He's to complete a substance abuse screening, will be on five years reporting probation and his firearms should be forfeited to the police department.

Gmoser said it's the practice of his office to require any officer-involved shootings to be considered by the grand jury, "regardless of apparent justification."

The Fairfield Police Department had called in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate the incident where Davis had wounded Molina-Hernandez in the leg.

The Fairfield Police Department intends to release the body camera footage Friday afternoon.

What happened on June 5

The incident started when an unidentified man called 911 and said there was "a guy with a gun," but the dispatcher had difficulty understanding the caller with a thick accent. The dispatcher asked him to repeat himself but disconnected.

The dispatcher had requested an officer check out the 911 hang-up and Davis responded to the 3300 block of Port Union Road. The call came in at around 3:45 p.m. that day.

Upon arrival, Davis attempted to talk with Molina-Hernandez, who was standing in the road.

The rookie officer ordered Molina-Hernandez several times to drop the weapon. Davis reported on radio traffic provided by the Fairfield Police Department that "it appears he has a gun in his hand."

Molina-Hernandez had taken up a "shooting stance," according to police. A moment after hearing Davis saying Molina-Hernandez had a weapon, dispatchers called for backup. Davis then could be heard saying with a distressed tone "shots fired." The dispatcher repeated the "shots fired" call.

After the shooting, a wellness check of the officer was requested and Davis could be heard saying he was okay and "apparently it was just a toy gun but he was pointing it at me."

Police said the observation that the weapon was a "toy" took place after the shooting. At the time of the shooting, police said Davis believed the weapon as it was pointed at him was real. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the agency investigating the officer-involved shooting, confirmed it was a real weapon.

Other officers arriving on the scene began life-saving measures and called for paramedics. Molina-Hernandez was transported to an area hospital.

No officers were injured during the incident.

(c)2022 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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