Police Officer Fired For Not Shooting Suspect
A police officer in West Virginia has apparently been fired for failing to engage an armed suspect who was brandished an unloaded firearm.
Stephen Mader was called to the scene of a domestic dispute, where he arrived to find an Ronald Williams holding an unloaded firearm. There is no way the officer could have known whether it was loaded at the time.
Instead of opening fire, Mader decided to try de-escalating the situation.
“I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ Then he starts flicking his wrist to get me to react to it,” he said.
“I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and de-escalate it. I knew it was a ‘suicide-by-cop’ situation.”
Other Officers Kill Williams, Mader Fired
Moments later two other officers arrived on the scene. They shot Williams as he advanced toward them with the handgun still in his hands.
A police investigation concluded the shooting was justified.
All three officers were white and the victim was black.
Mader said he was placed on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation. He was told he had “put two other officers in danger.”
The other officers involved returned to work and were apparently doing well.
“How can you say all the officers are doing well when you just terminated one yesterday?” Mr Mader told the newspaper. “I think he did that just to give the public a good view of the officers.”
“All they know is [Mr. Williams] is waving a gun at them,” he said. “It’s a shame it happened the way it did, but, I don’t think they did anything wrong.”
Use of deadly force is generally justified when a person believes his or her life is in imminent danger. The presence of a firearm in the hands of a suspect is generally considered qualification for using deadly force.
It is nearly impossible to determine whether a handgun is loaded or not. Even without a magazine inserted, a round can be chambered, allowing many modern handguns to fire (although some cannot fire without a magazine inserted).