Prosecutor: No charges for police in fatal shooting of butcher-knife wielding 'mentally disturbed' man

Prosecutor: No charges for police in fatal shooting of butcher-knife wielding 'mentally disturbed' man

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - A Hamilton police officer will not be indicted for fatally shooting a butcher-knife wielding "mentally disturbed" man " who charged at him and ignored order to drop the weapon, the Butler County prosecutor announced Monday.

The investigation into the April 22 shooting death of Michael Anthony Wilson-Salzl was "extensive and complete," Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said in a prepared statement.

It concluded that Wilson-Salzl, 24, was wielding a butcher knife and charging at Officer Steven McFall when he was shot on Forest Park Drive about 3 p.m.

Wilson-Salzl also had just been released from hospital psychiatric care the day before the shooting, Gmoser's statement notes.

"The totality of circumstances establishes without doubt that on April 22, 2017, Mr. Salzl was mentally disturbed with serious psychiatric conditions with a history of suicidal ideation and attempts, one of which included using a fake pistol to encourage a police officer to shoot him in 2016," Gmoser wrote.

Authorities re-traced the events leading up to the fatal shooting by gathering crime scene forensic evidence using sophisticated, state-of-the-art electronics, real-time audio 911 recording of the officer as he interacted with Wilson-Salzl moments before three shots were fired and eyewitness accounts, according to the prosecutor.

They also examined Wilson-Salzl's butcher knife, medical and psychiatric history and that of his mother; his autopsy report from the Butler County Coroner's Office, the police use of force report and statements from police investigating the shooting and the statement from Officer McFall.

Wilson-Salzl was just released from hospital psychiatric care the day before the shooting with "threatened self-destruction," according to Gmoser.

He called 911 April 22 to "falsely report shots fired by an unknown black assailant" in his apartment complex parking lot, Gmoser's statement reads.

That prompted Officer McFall to respond.

"Immediately upon his arrival on scene, Mr. Salzl, wearing a black mask, charged at the officer as he exited his squad car," Gmoser wrote.

"Mr. Salzl had both of his arms raised and was holding a butcher knife in one hand in an assaultive manner."

The officer immediately ordered him to "put it down," Gmoser wrote.

Wilson-Salzl did not comply and continued charging.

When the armed man was 12 feet away, Officer McFall fired his service weapon at the suspect's "center mass as proper protocol under these circumstances, stopping the assault and (resulting) in the death of Mr. Salzl," the prosecutor's statement reads.

"While one can only speculate with confidence what was in the mind of Mr. Salzl immediately prior to being shot, there is no doubt he achieved the result he encouraged from the officer," Gmoser wrote.

"Regrettably, the officer and the mother of Mr. (Wilson-Salzl) bear the burden of his death in spite of the justified circumstances."

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