Editor’s note: The above video has been edited for time and to remove graphic content. Some viewers may find this hard to watch, however. Viewer discretion is advised.
STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Struthers police have released body cam footage from an officer-involved shooting that happened in April.
In the video, the Struthers officer is chasing the suspect, who would later be identified as 35-year-old James Sheets.
At first, the officer is chasing him down State Street, and then they make their way onto Center Street Bridge. you can hear the officer say, “notify Campbell and Youngstown.”
The chase then goes down Wilson Avenue in Youngstown and eventually leads to Interstate 680.
Sheets exits on the Salt Springs Road ramp and shortly after, police converged on him.
The officer gets out of his vehicle with his gun drawn and yells, “Show me your hands! Show me your hands!”
The officer approaches Sheet’s vehicle. Then, you hear him yell, “gun, gun, gun” before he begins to fire.
Shortly after, you hear him yell, “reloading, reloading.” He then yells to another officer, “Get back, he’s got a gun.” He also tells the other officer, “He shot at me.”
Minutes later, the officer is heard saying, “He’s shot. He’s not breathing.”
Sheets was pronounced dead at the scene.
BCI took over the investigation and says the investigation remains active and ongoing. Once complete, the investigation will be referred to the country prosecutor.
Initially, Struthers Police Chief Tim Roddy said the chase began when an officer tried to pull Sheets over.
“When he was trying to stop the car, and it’s cloudy at this point, but the driver of the car attempted to hit the officer,” Roddy said.
Youngstown police were called in to help around 5 p.m. They assisted in the police chase, but Captain Jason Simon said they were not involved in using stun guns or in the shooting.
It’s still uncertain what prompted the initial stop.
“The longer that it goes without the video being released, I think there are more people who become suspicious as to why it’s not being released,” said Struthers Law Director John Zomoida, Jr.
The officer in the video is a member of the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force and has years of experience. He said Sheets fired a gun at him, and that’s when he started firing back.
Police found a gun on the car’s floorboard. BCI is looking at all aspects of the incident. The agency has not released its findings yet.
Zomoida believes the officer followed Struthers’s pursuit policies. BCI will make the final call and let Struthers officials know if the officer did anything wrong.
“There was no compliance with the officers, audible signals and sirens that were on the car,” Zomoida said. “We’re not trying to cover up anything or hide anything. We are certainly cooperating fully with BCI’s investigation, and we’re confident that at the end of the day, it’ll come back as a justifiable shooting.”Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
The officer is back to work. Another officer was put on leave due to physical injuries and hasn’t returned to rok yet.