CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has cleared the officer involved in a shooting last Wednesday in Avondale.
Vernell Jackson, 20, was shot around noon on Blair Avenue.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac says an undercover gang-unit officer in an unmarked vehicle saw Jackson move a handgun from his pocket to his waistband.
The officer called for backup from uniformed officers and Officer Marc Shildmeyer, a 23-year veteran of the gang-unit, arrived at Blair Court and Blair Avenue.
Dashboard and bodycam footage released by Deters in a Tuesday press conference shows Jackson with his left hand behind his back and Officer Shildmeyer yelling for Jackson to show his hands three times..
Jackson then pointed the gun at Shildmeyer and Shildmeyer yelled at Jackson to put the gun down before firing one shot that hit Jackson in the upper-right side of his torso, footage shows.
Shildmeyer called for firefighters and EMTs while he applied pressure and lifesaving techniques, Isaac says. Jackson is heard saying, “I can’t breathe” repeatedly while Shildmeyer administers first aid.
Deters said Tuesday that the officer’s response was “100% justified.”
“If you have a gun in your hands and the officer says show your hands, and you pull a gun out of your waistband, you’re going to get shot," Deters said. “That’s the reality of the situation. That’s what happened here."
Jackson is out of the ICU and is stable, according to Chief Isaac.
Isaac said the officers did what they were trained to do.
“It’s not an officer’s desire to take someone’s life,” he said. "When they see a threat they will try to neutralize that threat, and they will try to preserve life, and I think this is a perfect example.
Isaac said investigators don’t believe at this time that Jackson’s response was due to an underlying mental health condition. He met with Jackson’s family and said they also “didn’t have an explanation” as to why Jackson reacted to the officer’s commands the way he did.
Deters said Jackson’s case will go before a grand jury and an indictment will likely follow.
He is charged with aggravated menacing and carrying a concealed weapon.