Grand jury finds Dayton officers acted lawfully in Wayne Avenue shooting

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl immediately defended the actions of his officers who shot and wounded a Dayton man last fall, saying the suspect “posed a lethal threat.”

A grand jury on Thursday returned a no true bill, agreeing that police acted lawfully in the Sept. 24, 2020, officer-involved shooting of 49-year-old Shawn Dwayne Keirns, according to a release from the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

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Keirn is accused of stealing a 9mm handgun, firing it at a passing vehicle and pointing it at police, according to Dayton Municipal Court records.

Keirns was standing in the middle of the 1700 block of Wayne Avenue and flagged down a motorist. The driver stopped to see if Keirns needed help and rolled down his passenger side window. Keirns reached inside, opened the door and took a handgun from the passenger seat, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Shawn Dwayne Keirns
Shawn Dwayne Keirns

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Keirns then ran down Wayne Avenue and fired several shots, including at other motorists.

“When Dayton police officers arrived, they confronted Keirns, who pointed the firearm directly at one of the officers,” the release stated. “Keirns ignored the officer’s commands to drop the weapon. Instead, he continued pointing the gun at the officer and even adjusted his aim.”

The officers shot Keirns, then gave medical aid until medics arrived and took him to Miami Valley Hospital.

“This person posed a lethal threat,” Biehl said during a media briefing following the shooting.

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Keirns initially was in critical condition after Biehl said he was shot at least three times. Within a month he was recovered enough to be booked Oct. 14 into the Montgomery County Jail.

Keirns was indicted Oct. 1 on multiple felony charges, including two counts of felonious assault and one count of discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises, each with a three-year firearm specification; one count of grand theft and two counts of having weapons under disability for prior a drug conviction and offense of violence, according to his indictment.

The case against him is pending.

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