Police: Suspect in officer-involved shooting was unarmed

Phillip Williams (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Phillip Williams (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Col. James Whalen at a press conference on Tuesday
Col. James Whalen at a press conference on Tuesday

OAKLEY, OH (FOX19) - The interim police chief for Cincinnati Police says the suspect in an officer-involved shooting Monday morning in Oakley was unarmed when he was shot at by an officer.

Just after 1 a.m., police received an anonymous call about a wanted subject in an apartment on Romaine Drive. The man, Phillip Williams Jr., was wanted for a warrant in Newport, Ky. for drug possession.

Interim chief Col. James Whalen says officers Phillip Threatt and Thomas Watson were dispatched to the scene and were told that Williams was known to carry a gun.

Williams' mother answered the door when the officers arrived, and told them that Williams wasn't there, but have them permission to search the home.

The officers found Williams hiding in his mother's closet.

"Almost immediately upon the (closet) door opening and Mr. Williams becoming visible, Officer Threatt discharged his firearm, one shot, which struck Williams on the inner part of the left wrist," said Whalen.

The bullet grazed Williams, and he was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Whalen says no weapon was found on Williams or in the closet.

Threatt failed to give police a statement, citing the Fifth Amendment, and did not say why he fired the shot.

"Our training teaches our officers to recognize a discernable threat in order for a firearm to be used," said Whalen. "It must be a threat of serious physical harm or death prior to using the firearm."

Threatt and Watson are on paid administrative leave, which is standard.

But Whalen so far, Whalen says he can't find a reason why Threatt would have fired a shot.

"As a preliminary matter, I have not been able to determine a threat that would warrant the use of a firearm," said Whalen.

Threatt has been a police officer since 2006, and was transferred to District 2 in October of 2005. He had a previous incident of firing a shot while performing a building search and being startled by another officer. The other officer was not hit. He received additional training after that incident.

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