Fairfield police officer not indicted in June shooting

The Fairfield police officer who shot an armed suspect earlier this month was not indicted by a Butler County grand jury.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the grand jury considered all relevant evidence and testimony surrounding the incident and returned no indictment.

“The incident was captured on the subject officer’s body camera and the video is being released for public view,” said the prosecutor. “It should be apparent to all that pointing a firearm at a police officer in the performance of his or her duties carries a high probability that lethal force to eliminate the threat will result.”

Officer Nick Davis, who has been on the job for less than a year, fired his service weapon at 36-year-old Rodolfo Molina-Hernandez of West Hicks Boulevard on the afternoon of June 5. Molino-Hernandez was found guilty last week in Fairfield Municipal Court of aggravated menacing. He was sentenced to 6 months in jail, though he had two months suspended. He’s to complete a substance abuse screening, will be on five years reporting probation and his firearms should be forfeited to the police department.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The incident started when an unidentified man called 911 and said there was “a guy with a gun,” but the dispatcher had difficulty understanding the caller with a thick accent. The dispatcher asked him to repeat himself but disconnected.

The dispatcher had requested an officer check out the 911 hang-up and Davis responded to the 3300 block of Port Union Road. The call came in at around 3:45 p.m. that day.

According to the body-worn camera video footage, the Molina-Hernandez was hiding his left hand. Davis asked him to show his hands, calling multiple times, “What’s in your hand?” He also ordered him to keep his hand out of his pocket. Molina-Hernandez backs away a few steps and to the side.

Davis requested backup to arrive as soon as possible, asking responding units to “step it up.”

Soon after this request, Molina-Hernandez turned around and that was when Davis apparently saw the firearm. His arm obstructed the camera briefly as he was talking on his radio. Molina-Hernandez took up what was called a shooting stance and that’s when Davis unholstered his sidearm. He yelled at him to “drop it. Drop it now.”

Molina-Hernandez raised his arms and that’s when Davis fired five shots. Molina-Hernandez fell onto his back on the fifth shot. He was struck in his left thigh.

A man, who said he was Molina-Hernandez’s brother, suggested the firearm was a “toy,” and said he “has depression.” An investigation of the shooting revealed it was a real firearm. Other officers arriving on the scene began life-saving measures and called for paramedics. Molina-Hernandez was transported to an area hospital.

Gmoser said it’s the practice of his office to require any officer-involved shootings to be considered by the grand jury, “regardless of apparent justification.”

The Fairfield Police Department had called in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate the incident. Davis has been on administrative leave since the incident, police said.

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