WEST END, OH (FOX19) - New information has been released on the shooting death of a man by a police officer in the West End on Friday.
Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig said during a press conference on Saturday that Officer Benjamin Schneider shot Kevin Willingham. Officer Schneider has been on the force since 2008 and is assigned to District One.
Around 6:15 p.m., Schneider responded to a residence at the request of a guardian with Person Guardianship Services.
The guardian was attempting to conduct a wellness check on Angeli Johnson, Willingham's sister, after being granted guardianship of Johnson by a magistrate earlier that day.
District One had made a number of visits in the past few weeks to check on the wellness of Johnson, who was cared for 16 hours a day by a medical caregiver, but in the care of her brother the other eight hours. Police say in their prior nighttime attempts to reach the guardian, no one came to the door.
Schneider first went to the side door of the residence and was met by Willingham. The officer told Willingham that he and the guardian needed to conduct a wellness check on Johnson and that she would not be removed from the residence at that time.
Willingham told the officer Johnson was fine and asked to review the court order. Craig says Willingham became "visibly agitated" after reviewing the court order.
Willingham gave the officer the court order and stated, "We will meet in Hell" and then shut the door to the residence. Schneider again requested entry to check on the condition of Johnson.
About a minute later, Willingham stated, "Come in, the door is unlocked."
Craig says the officer instinctively positioned the guardian away from the entryway into the residence. When the door was opened, Schneider could see Willingham standing roughly ten feet away with both hands extended, holding a black firearm. Schneider shut the door and turned and grabbed the guardian and pushed her to the front of the residence away from the threat.
Willingham exited the residence and continued pointing his gun at Officer Schneider, who had retreated to the front of the residence and moved the guardian out of Willingham's line of fire. Schneider grabbed his gun and turned to see Willingham continuing to advance in his direction with his gun pointed at the officer.
The guardian reported hearing Schneider order Willingham to drop his gun two times before firing his weapon. Schneider took four shots.
Emergency crews attempted to perform CPR on Willingham but were not able to resuscitate him.
Craig says Willingham was armed with Bersa 380 semi-automatic weapon with a fully-loaded magazine with the hammer in the cocked position and the safety off.
Willingham's prior record includes only misdemeanor and traffic offenses.
"Although loss of life is always tragic, officer Schneider's action in placing the guardian's well being above his own personal safety can only be described as heroic," said Craig. "It's always tragic when we have to use deadly force. Certainly our prayers and concerns go out to the family of Mr. Willingham. It's unfortunate."
Police say it is routine in this type of situation for the officer to be placed on administrative leave. Officer Schneider will be evaluated by a psychologist before returning to work.