Prosecutor: ‘Heroic’ officers justified in Fifth Third Center shooting

Santa Perez, 29, shot and killed three people and injured two others
Cincinnati police slowly clear Fountain Square after a mass shooting at Fifth Third Bank.
Cincinnati police slowly clear Fountain Square after a mass shooting at Fifth Third Bank.
Updated: Sep. 14, 2018 at 1:45 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -The actions of four Cincinnati police officers who the first to respond to the mass shooting at Fifth Third Center and killed the gunman are not only justified, they also are “heroic,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Friday.

“They responded quickly and saved numerous lives. We will never know how many people they saved that day,” Deters said in a news release.

Gunman Omar Enrique Santa Perez, 29, squeezed off a total of 35 rounds when he opened fire in the lobby of the bank’s national headquarters on Fountain Square Sept. 6, police have said.

[Surveillance video shows gunman shooting ‘anyone he saw’ in Fifth Third Bank]

He killed two contractors and a bank employee, Pruthvi Raj Kandepi, 25, Richard Newcomer, 64, and Luis Felipe Calderón, 48. and wounded two bank employees.

And he could have killed many more.

The briefcase he carried held more than 250 rounds of extra ammunition, according to police.

The first shot was fired at 9:06 p.m. and stopped after four officers responded in three and a half minutes: Gregory Toyeas, Jennifer Chilton, Antonio Etter and Eric Kaminsky.

Surveillance and body cam footage released last week by Cincinnati police shows Perez shooting in the lobby and then firing at officers.

They returned fire, shooting through the glass, and killed him.

The scene was declared secure at 9:15 a.m.

The officers, Deters said Friday, did not violate any criminal statutes. His comments came after he and other prosecutors reviewed all the video footage of the shooting and interviews with all witnesses and responding officers.

They found that evidence “overwhelming” in favor of the officers.

His office reviews all police use of force cases.

“Sadly, three innocent people died and two people were seriously injured as a result of Perez’s actions,” Deters said.

“People may take for granted the work that our first responders do, but I want to personally thank them for their bravery and service to our community."

The two bank employees who were injured, Brian Sarver and Whitney Austin, have been released from the hospital.

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