- Police Officer Rob Nader has no doubt that the suspect he chased Thursday night intended to fire a handgun at him - but the shot went wild because the man stumbled and fell.
Officer Nader and Sgt. Jim Tucker responded to the 800 block of Philadelphia Street about 10:15 p.m. after a call about a man on a bicycle firing a gun in the area. Two young girls told the officers where to look for the man.
Rahoul S. Jones, 18, who fit the description, tried to flee on a bike but was forced off the street by Sgt. Tucker's automobile and ran instead. Officer Nader took off in foot pursuit, ordering him to stop.
''I could see the gun while we were chasing him, and then he stopped and started to turn toward me,'' the 22-year-old officer said. ''Right when I saw him pull the gun out of his coat, I had my weapon out.''
But the suspect apparently stepped from the curb into a driveway depression and fell. The gun went off and ended up across the street, with the bullet striking a nearby house.
''We're not sure if the gun went off as he was falling or after it hit the ground,'' Officer Nader said Friday. ''But I have no doubt he was looking to shoot. If the gun did go off when it hit the street, the hammer had to be cocked or it wouldn't have fired just from striking the pavement.''
Police recovered a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver with one used and five live rounds still inside.
They also found 14 more live rounds in Mr. Jones' jacket pocket. He was charged with wanton endangerment, a felony.
Officer Nader gave credit to Sgt. Tucker, a 21-year veteran of the Covington force. ''If Sgt. Tucker hadn't forced the suspect off the bike, the guy would have been gone,'' he said. ''We wouldn't have run him down.''
He said this was his first experience in a shooting incident since he joined the force in January, 1997.
''I don't think I want to do it again,'' he said. ''I wear my bullet-proof vest at all times on duty, but the statistics (of being shot) would be against me the next time.''