A Richmond, Ohio police officer could have used deadly force against a man suspected of murder charging at him on April 16 — but kept his cool instead.
As CNN reports, the video below from the officer Jesse Kidder’s body camera shows the suspect, identified as Michael Wilcox, charging at him, potentially in an attempt to commit “suicide by cop,” as dispatchers mentioned. Wilcox allegedly killed his fiancee and best friend before dragging police through Kentucky and Ohio on a chase.
Kidder initially gets out of the cruiser and aims his gun at Wilcox. As Wilcox starts charging him, Kidder yells, “Get your hands up right now. I don’t want to shoot you, man.”
Then, Wilcox reaches one hand into his pocket. Kidder wasn’t sure if he was armed at the time. “My eyes are watching that hand right now and nothing else,” Kidder later told CNN while watching the footage. In video, Kidder yells, “Get your hands out of your pockets now.”
In the video, Wilcox keeps saying, “Shoot me.” At one point, Kidder responds, “No man, I’m not gonna do it.”
“I was trying to open a dialogue with him. ‘I don’t want to shoot you; just get on the ground,'” Kidder later told CNN. “But he wasn’t having it. He kept repeating, ‘Shoot me!’ At one point, he said, ‘Shoot me, or I’ll shoot you.'”
As Wilcox kept advancing, Kidder continued to walk backward. When Wilcox charged with more force, Kidder fell to the ground. At that point, Kidder told CNN he thought about using deadly force.
Just then, back up arrives, and Wilcox immediately surrenders.
“Law enforcement officers all across the nation have to deal with split-second decisions that mean life or death. I wanted to be absolutely sure before I used deadly force,” Kidder told CNN-affiliate WLWT.
Dispatchers originally told Kidder that the suspect could have a gun under his seat, according to WLWT. Police, however, later determined that Wilcox wasn’t armed and didn’t have a weapon in his vehicle, Brown County Sheriff’s Office Detective Buddy Moore told CNN.
Police Chief Randy Harvey told WLWT, however, that if Kidder had shot Wilcox, the officer would have been justified. “For him to make the judgment call that he did shows great restraint and maturity,” the chief told CNN.
While only on the police force for one year, Kidder had never been confronted in such a way, according to WLWT. He did serve two tours of duty as a Marine in Iraq and received a purple heart.
Kidder’s family bought him the body camera for him after Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked protests across the country, according to CNN.
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