HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A police officer who fatally shot a heavily armed 18-year-old man has been cleared by a grand jury, authorities in southwestern Ohio said Thursday.
Authorities praised veteran officer Chad Stafford, 44, who was treated at the hospital after being grazed in the head by a bullet last weekend and is recovering at home.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported ( ) that authorities said the youth was firing an AK-47 assault weapon and had a large supply of ammunition and a Glock pistol.
“The officer was shot, bleeding and outgunned,” said Hamilton Police Chief Scott Scrimizzi. “Yet he moved from behind his cover and fired two rounds from his duty pistol at a distance of 68 feet, striking the suspect with both rounds. He stopped the threat and did an outstanding job.”
The slain youth was identified as Brandon Keeler. Police had been called about a man shooting a gun into the air in a residential neighborhood last Saturday morning.
Authorities said they are awaiting autopsy reports. They said that Keeler was depressed and left notes indicating he expected to die.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said that a grand jury found no wrongdoing by Stafford. The prosecutor took the case to a grand jury as a matter of policy for officer-involved shootings.
“The events from this past Saturday are both sad and tragic in that we have a young man who is dead and an officer shot and wounded,” Scrimizzi said. “Yet we are grateful that there was no additional loss of life or injuries, because of what we have learned in our investigation is things could have ended much worse.”