Prosecutor: Officers in deadly May shooting in Warren County ‘completely justified’

Hamilton Twp. police officers who fatally shot a 57-year-old man in May were “completely justified” in their deadly use of force, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell announced Wednesday.

Anthony D. Williams of Hamilton Twp. was shot and killed May 2 after he came out of the back of his home in the 1200 block of Adams Road with a gun and refused repeated commands to drop the weapon before he leveled it at the officers. The two officers who shot him were Sgt. Chris Wall, a 21-year-veteran of the force, and Joshua Clift, who has been with the department for less than two years.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation, and presented its full report July 9 to the prosecutor’s office.

“We spent the last three weeks looking at that evidence, and based upon the investigation that BCI conducted it is my belief that these officers acted reasonably in their use of deadly force against Mr. Williams,” Fornshell said. “They were completely justified because their lives were threatened at that time and ultimately had to resort in utilizing deadly force.”

Fornshell said he will not present the case to a county grand jury.

Williams’ longtime live-in girlfriend went to a next door neighbor’s home to call police after Williams, who was intoxicated and had been making suicidal threats, fired a gun inside their home, Fornshell said.

A 911 caller said Williams had fired his handgun, a .357 Taurus Magnum revolver, inside his house twice before his girlfriend went to their neighbor’s house, and that he fired a third round after she left their home.

Although Hamilton Twp. police do not use body-worn cameras, Fornshell said the BCI investigation found that statements among officers, neighbors and Williams’ girlfriend who witnessed the shooting were consistent.

Following the shooting, Williams’ family issued a statement on social media saying they were thankful no officers were harmed. They called it “a tragic event” and that they “very much so back the blue and glad not one else was harmed. We ask everyone to respect our privacy during this time.”

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