Officers cleared in shooting of man in Ohio emergency room
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Officers who fatally shot a Black man in an Ohio emergency room last year won’t face criminal charges, a county prosecutor announced Friday, as details emerged that the victim fired a gun three times during the chaotic encounter.
Columbus police officers and security officers with Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital opened fire on Miles Jackson April 12, 2021, after a struggle that began when Columbus officers discovered Jackson had a gun concealed in his sweatpants.
A standoff ensued after the gun went off, with police eventually opening fire as Jackson appeared to sit up and officers yelled, “He shot again!” and “He’s got a gun!”, according to bodycam footage.
Columbus officer Ryan Krichbaum was one of several officers who told investigators he heard Jackson fire more than one shot.
“I heard a gunshot and I believed the suspect had just fired at us. I quickly crawled out of the room and as I did so, I heard another gunshot or two,” Krichbaum told investigators on May 10, 2021, according to documents released Friday by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, whose criminal division investigated the shooting.
“All the evidence indicates he fired 3 times,” David Zeyen, assistant Franklin County prosecutor, said of Jackson in a statement Friday.
A coroner’s report said Jackson was shot 20 times including wounds to his left ear, chin, chest, abdomen, buttocks and thighs.
The grand jury’s decision not to indict Columbus officers or Mount Carmel security officers was announced without comment by Gary Tyack, the elected prosecutor for Franklin County in central Ohio, home to state capital Columbus.
The Attorney General’s Office concluded its investigation of the shooting in August 2021 and forwarded it to the Franklin County prosecutor.
Jackson, 27, had been taken to the same hospital, Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital in Westerville, earlier the day he died, but had walked away. Westerville police were then called after he was found passed out in a nearby parking lot.
After a pat-down, where an officer previously cautioned for rushing his duties missed Jackson’s gun, those officers followed medics back to the hospital.
Westerville police officer Eric Everhart, who conducted the pat-down that missed the gun, told investigators he never saw signs of a gun and that he never considered Jackson, who was polite, as a threat.
“I still don’t know where it was if he had one,” Everhart told investigators two days after the shooting, according to documents released Friday. “I didn’t see anything bulky, nothing like that.”
Messages were left for the City of Westerville and the union representing Columbus and Westerville officers.
At the hospital, Jackson was met by Columbus police because of city warrants for his arrest. Everhart and the Columbus officers who shot Jackson were white.
Krichbaum, a second Columbus officer and four St. Ann’s officers fired their weapons, according to records released Friday. A message was left with Mount Carmel Health System seeking comment. The security officers also appear white on hospital security camera footage.
Emergency room staff tried to revive Jackson but he was pronounced dead at the hospital, authorities said. No officers, hospital staff or physicians were injured.
Protests followed the shooting, one of several in recent years in Columbus that led to a reckoning in the city over racial injustice and allegations of police brutality. Those incidents include the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant less than a week after Jackson’s death as she swung a knife at a young woman.
The officer who shot Bryant was cleared of criminal wrongdoing earlier this year by a grand jury.
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