Hamilton police chief calls officers who shot, killed suspect ‘heroes’

Butler County prosecutor said use of deadly force in Oct. 8 officer-involved shooting was ‘justified’

The two Hamilton police officers that shot and killed a suspect who led law enforcement on a chase across two communities have returned to work.

A Butler County grand jury did not indict Hamilton officers Bryan Bowlin and James Leisinger in the shooting.

“The use of deadly force against (Stephaun) Jones was, in all respects, justified and followed accepted and trained police procedures and protocols,” said Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser in a press release.

On Oct. 8, Bowlin and Leisinger confronted Jones, 25, of Liberty Twp., in the 4600 block of Tara Brooke Court after he eluded two Fairfield Twp. police officers. Jones shot and killed Sidney Printup, 25, of Fairfield, a passenger in Jones’ Ford Focus, in the 1900 block of Fairgrove Avenue.

Jones was taken into custody after both officers fired shots. Jones later died from his wounds at the hospital. Bowlin, a five-year Hamilton police veteran, and Leisinger, a two-year Hamilton police veteran, were placed on administrative leave, per Hamilton policy, after the shooting.

“Officers Bowlin and Leisinger followed their training, used good tactics, and acted decisively to keep an armed and very dangerous suspect from harming anyone else,” said Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit. “They protected many innocent lives by placing themselves in harm’s way. I’m proud of them — they’re heroes.”

Gmoser sent the case to the grand jury, as he does with any officer-involved shooting, and the officers were cleared in the shooting.

The incident started around 7 p.m. on Fairgrove Avenue after a multi-vehicle accident. Before fleeing, Jones shot Printup, who at this time exited the heavily damaged Ford Focus, in the head.

Two Fairfield Twp. officers found Jones on Morris Road, but instead of shooting when Jones leveled a black firearm at them, one of the officers deployed a Taser from 50 feet away. Fairfield Twp. Police Chief Robert Chabali said they should have used deadly force, which Gmoser wrote in a press release, agreeing, saying “the Taser was ineffective” and allowed an armed suspect to flee. Those two officers voluntarily resigned shortly after the incident, the chief said.

Not long after the confrontation with Fairfield Twp.’s officers, Jones came across the two Hamilton cops. Jones had walked backward and reached for his weapon, and then when he leveled his firearm off at the Hamilton police officers, they both fired after one of them yelled, “Gun, gun, gun.”

Jones was struck four times, three by one officer and once by the other.

“With the elimination of the deadly threat against them, multiple responding law enforcement officers administered medical aid to Jones, transported him to a local hospital where Jones was pronounced dead,” said Gmoser in a press release. “The Butler County coroner determined the cause of death of Jones to be ‘penetrating gunshot wound of abdomen and chest.’”

Gmoser said the post-mortem forensic chemical analysis of Jones’ blood, urine, and eye vitreous “showed concentrations of benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, and ethanol.”

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