CINCINNATI (AP) — A police sergeant who inadvertently fired a lethal shotgun round — but didn't hit anyone — during a standoff with an armed man is under investigation by Cincinnati police and prosecutors.
Chief Eliot Isaac said Sunday the sergeant meant to fire a pepper bullet during the SWAT standoff at a home in the city's West End on Saturday.
Police were called to the home around 4 p.m. Saturday after relatives said they were concerned about the mental health of the 24-year-old man.
Isaac said officers approached the man but he told them to get away and pushed away from them, removing his sweatshirt and pulling a steak knife from his waistband. Officers spent about 12 minutes telling him to drop the weapon and deploying bean bag rounds, stun devices and a chemical irritant, all of which had no effect, police said.
Isaac said a police sergeant went to his car to get more bean bag rounds but inadvertently grabbed shotgun slugs, reloading his shotgun with a lethal shotgun round. Issac said the sergeant then fired, but the round missed the man and went into a garbage can.
He said the officer realized the round was lethal by the sound and disengaged, placing his shotgun in the car and informing officers at the scene. After several hours, the man was taken into custody and transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.
Isaac said the incident "was clearly a mistake" by the sergeant, who has been with the department since 1992. The chief said he talked to the family Sunday morning and they were "very understanding of what occurred" as well as complimentary of the overall handling of the situation.
The sergeant is now on paid administrative leave, and Hamilton County prosecutors and the police internal affairs section will investigate.