Butler County deputy who shot child porn suspect involved in fatal shooting earlier this year

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Officer involved shooting in Ross Township

Suspect in child pornography case shot, arrested by Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

About 20 minutes before noon on Monday, Butler County Sheriff’s detectives and an agent from the Department of Homeland Security rallied at a local hardware store before executing a search warrant on Jennifer Drive in Ross Twp.

They were looking for evidence of child pornography. Before that could happen, a suspect in the case aimed a firearm at officers. However, Deputy Ricky Phillips, a detective and eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, shot once at Alex Michael Hoskins, the 26-year-old suspect.

“What I know of and what I’ve seen, and by the detectives, it appears the suspect wanted to commit suicide by cop, which is sad that he chose to have our officer shoot him,” said Sheriff Richard Jones. “You can’t point guns at the police. You can, but bad things will happen.”

Jones said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations was called in to investigate the officer-involved shooting, the second such shooting Phillips has been involved in this year. In January, he was the deputy who fatally shot Junius Thomas, a 31-year-old who was involved in a SWAT standoff at the Lakota Pointe Townhomes. Thomas pointed a firearm at law enforcement, and it was Phillips who shot and killed Thomas.

Jones said it’s for the good of the sheriff’s office, and for Phillips, “that we bring in an outside agency (to investigate) this time.”

Jones said at a Tuesday morning press conference, “From what I’ve seen, looks like a good shoot.” Phillips, who was hired in August 2012, is on paid administrative leave. Jones called him a “great guy, great officer.”

The wound to Hoskins is non-life-threatening and was treated and released from Fort Hamilton Hospital. He was taken to the Butler County Jail for processing and was later transferred to the Warren County Jail because of its in-house medical wing.

He was arraigned Tuesday morning and his bond was set for $200,000. He is charged with three counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and one count of felonious assault. Jones said the charges could be elevated, and federal charges could be levied.

The sheriff also said since the investigation is ongoing, others could be arrested.

Jones said it’s believed Hoskins purchased his weapon a few days prior, “and it appears his intention was to have police officers shoot him.” When asked if Hoskins told investigators he intended to be shot by law enforcement, Jones said, “Yes.”

Hoskins was interviewed Monday by investigators, and the sheriff’s office said he confessed to possession of child pornography and sending and receiving pornographic images and videos of children. The sheriff couldn’t say at this time if local children were photographed or recorded.

“It’s pretty graphic stuff,” Jones said of the materials found. “I feel sorry for the (BCSO) employees who have to review this.”

The sheriff didn’t say how the investigation started, but said, “We’ve been watching his transmissions, and it’s been reported to us by others.”

Investigators have removed a number of electronic devices, including computers and phones, from the home owned by Hoskins’ parents.

Jones didn’t say how much time Hoskins could face, especially since additional charges could be added, but said, “He’s looking at lots and lots of time. Maybe enough time where his parole officer isn’t even born yet.”

According to radio traffic obtained by the Journal-News, before serving the warrant, the home was under surveillance for nearly an hour, according to radio traffic. A male was sitting on the front porch and went inside, according to radio traffic.

Surveillance indicated the man had a weapon, according to the radio traffic.

Shots were fired at 12:32 p.m.

Deputies reported the suspect had been shot in the chest. They began administering first aid, and an ambulance was requested. One deputy asked dispatch to “get that medic to step it up quickly,” according to the radio traffic.

BCI’s investigation could last up to six weeks, Jones said.

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