Saturday, November 6, 2004

Union Twp. backs cops in shooting

'We have no reason to believe they did anything improper'

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

Thomas Campbell
UNION TWP. - A police officer who shot and killed a 39-year-old suicidal man armed with a knife Thursday appears to have acted properly, a police official said Friday.

Union Township Police Officers Jeff Jenkins and Erin Williams remained on paid administrative leave after the shooting of Thomas Campbell, who officials said lunged at the officers and urged them to shoot him, said Union Township Police Lt. Terry Zinser.

Jenkins fired two shots at Campbell; Williams did not fire her gun during the confrontation.

"We have no reason to believe that they did anything improper," Zinser said. "I stand behind these two officers."

Jenkins and Williams were called to an apartment at the Beechmont East apartment complex in the 400 block of Yarabee Trace just before 3 p.m. after a report of a suicidal man. When they arrived, they saw Campbell standing in the second-story apartment's doorway with a knife to his throat, said Union Township Lt. Mark Griffith. The officers tried to calm him down and repeatedly asked him to drop the knife. Instead, he slashed his throat and lunged at the officers, Griffith said.

Zinser said the department owns two Taser stun guns, but neither was available to Jenkins and Williams.

Zinser said he believed Jenkins, an officer for about 22 years, had never fired his pistol at a suspect before.

He also said he believed that neither officer has a significant disciplinary record. Their personnel files could not immediately be obtained.

Campbell died at University Hospital from internal bleeding caused by two gunshot wounds to the torso, and also suffered minor self-inflicted wounds to the neck and arm, said Gary Utz, a forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy for the Hamilton County Coroner's Office.

The last police-involved shooting in the township was in January 2001.


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