Cell phone video: Suspect with airsoft pistol shot, killed by police
WESTWOOD, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police say the man shot and killed by three officers Wednesday was carrying an airsoft pistol that resembled a handgun.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said officers fired nine shots at Paul Gaston, 37, after he refused to lie flat on the ground and raised up, appearing to reach for a weapon from his waistband. Isaac described the pistol as "a very realistic-looking firearm."
"Based on what we've been able to determine, our officers responded appropriately and according to their training," Isaac said.
The first 911 call came from a woman reporting a man waving a gun in the 2800 block of Dirheim Avenue. The female caller did not identify herself and police later determined the woman was Gaston's girlfriend, Isaac said.
Several 911 callers then reported a pickup truck crashing into a utility pole on Harrison Avenue and Boudinot around 4 p.m. Callers said the man was possibly intoxicated and appeared to have a firearm.
District Three officers confronted Gaston in the 3300 block of Harrison Avenue. Police said Gaston initially followed the officers' orders, but then reached into his waistband.
"They initially gave him commands to go to his knees which he initially complied," said Isaac. "They also gave him additional commands to lie flat on the ground. The individual begins to go to the ground, then continues to rise up and retrieves a firearm from his waistband."
The incident remains under investigation.
"We always regret the loss of life, no matter what the circumstances. So we want to extend our prayers to the family of the suspect. It's always sad to see a life lost," Mayor John Cranley said at the press conference.
The shooting officers were identified by Isaac as Zachary Sterbling, Eric Kohler and Scott McManis. They are each assigned with district 3.
Per protocol, the three officers are placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.
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