Police: Man was on phone with dispatchers at time of officer-involved shooting

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit holding the knife Michael Wilson-Salzl had. (FOX19 NOW)
Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit holding the knife Michael Wilson-Salzl had. (FOX19 NOW)
Michael Wilson-Salzl (Photo provided)
Michael Wilson-Salzl (Photo provided)

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - A Hamilton man killed in an officer-involved shooting was on the phone with dispatchers moments before he was shot by police.

Hamilton police released the 911 call Tuesday and said that this was not the first time Michael Wilson-Salzl tried to confront police.

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit revealed that police had an encounter with Wilson-Salzl in March 2016. They said he wanted to die in a police confrontation.

Dashboard camera video from the 2016 shows the cop asking Wilson-Salzl, "You don't want to live anymore?"

"I guess. I couldn't find anything else to kill myself with," said Wilson-Salzl

After the fatal officer-involved shooting, Bucheit said Wilson-Salzl's mother told police she wasn't surprised something like this happened.

Hamilton Police Officer Steven McFall 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 on April 22, the Butler County prosecutor announced Monday.

The investigation into the shooting death of 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 McFall when he was shot on Forest Park Drive about 3 p.m.

"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.

Police said Wilson-Salzl intentionally mislead dispatcher and called in a shooting that never happened to lure police to the scene. In the 911 call, he identifies himself as "Thomas."

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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