A Cincinnati police officer shot a Mount Auburn man twice - critically injuring him - after the man ran toward officers with a handgun and ignored orders to stop, police officials said Saturday.
A drug deal, a gun sale and a fight in an Over-the-Rhine park Friday night preceded the shooting of the 19-year-old man.
Shane Welch, also known as Shane Myers, was in critical but stable condition Saturday after undergoing surgery at University Hospital for a gunshot wound in the chest, according to Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. James Whalen. Welch, who lives in an apartment in the 1800 block of Josephine Street, also had a shot graze his right arm.
The incident began with a sting operation at 13th and Yukon streets, where police bought $100 worth of crack cocaine and a realistic-looking Uzi machine pistol that shoots plastic pellets.
As officers moved in to arrest the two sellers, Whalen said, a fight broke out nearby, prompting a "second wave" of officers to intervene. That, Whalen said, is when Welch bolted from the crowd and ran across Sycamore Street toward the northwest corner of the School for Creative & Performing Arts.
Police officers Adarryl Birch and Daniel Downing blocked his path with their squad car and confronted Welch, Whalen said.
They saw he was holding a pistol, Whalen said. "He was given a verbal command to stop. He was given a verbal command to show his hands. He was given a distinct command to drop the gun."
Welch ignored the orders and continued to run toward the officers, his gun chest high and pointed at the policemen, Whalen said. Birch shot him twice.
Welch managed to run 15 to 20 feet past the officers before dropping the gun and collapsing, Whalen said. Welch was charged with aggravated menacing. He was also charged with illegal firearms possession. He was not supposed to possess a gun, police said, because of a 2002 conviction for domestic assault. He was 14 at the time.
Police tested the badly scuffed silvery revolver. It worked, they said.
The department placed Birch and Downing on seven-day administrative leave, a routine procedure following a police-involved shooting. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said his office will investigate the case. Birch, 31, joined the force in December 2004.
A woman at Welch's apartment who identified herself as his girlfriend said Saturday that she was prevented from visiting Welch in the hospital.
"He had to go through surgery," said the woman, who wouldn't give her name. "He's unconscious, but he's going to be OK. I hope he's OK because he's got a child on the way in four months."
City Councilman Cecil Thomas attended the department's news conference about the shooting. He expressed satisfaction with the department's explanation.
"Obviously, based on what we're hearing here, it was definitely handled properly by our officers," Thomas said.
Welch amassed 19 juvenile court "adjudications," which are equivalent to convictions, Whalen said.
Cincinnati police have shot crime suspects at least twice in the past year.
On April 20, an officer shot a fleeing suspect in the arm in the West End after the man stumbled, reached into his waistband and tried to pick up a gun that had fallen out of his pants. Last September, another policeman shot an armed robbery suspect in West Price Hill after the man pointed a gun at the officer.
Charged in the earlier drug and gun sting Friday night were Lawrence Wakefield, 21, of 3522 Reading Road, and Terrell Dewberry, 19, of 424 E. 12th St. Among other charges, the pair were accused of selling a "simulated firearm, while presenting it as real" for $300. But the black Daisy Uzi-look-alike came with a real bullet clip.
Thomas doesn't want to see any more toys like it in Cincinnati.
"My biggest concern is that these types of toys are entering our community," he said. "I'm going to talk to council about maybe introducing an ordinance to address that."