No charges returned for Butler County deputy who shot Ross Twp. suspect

Credit: Journal News

Officer involved shooting in Ross Township

Credit: Journal News

Wounded man was attempting ‘suicide by cop,’ Butler County sheriff says.

A grand jury declined to return an indictment against a Butler County Sheriff’s deputy who shot a man last month during the execution of a search warrant at his Ross Twp. residence.

Alex Michael Hoskins, 26, of the 4200 block of Jennifer Drive, was shot May 10 by Detective Rick Phillips in what the investigation reveals was an attempt to “commit suicide by cop.”

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Phillips and officials with Homeland Security were serving a search warrant as part of an online child pornography investigation when Hoskins allegedly came toward the deputy with a gun, raised it and pointed it. Phillips shot and wounded Hoskins. The injuries were not life-threatening and Hoskins was booked into jail about 6 that night.

Following an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and presentation to a grand jury Thursday, no charges were returned, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.

“The use of force was justified,” Gmoser said in a press release.

Hoskins is charged with felonious assault and three counts of illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented material or performance. His case has been bound over to a Butler County grand jury for consideration. He is housed in the Warren County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said after the incident it’s believed Hoskins purchased his weapon a few days prior, “and it appears his intention was to have police officers shoot him.”

Hoskins was interviewed by investigators, and the sheriff’s office said he confessed to possession of child pornography and sending and receiving pornographic images and videos of children, according to detectives.

Gmoser said the BCI investigation also determined “the subject of the search warrant confronted the officer with lethal force pointing a loaded pistol at them for the stated purpose of eliciting a lethal response — ‘suicide by cop.’ He was immediately shot once by a sheriff’s deputy to eliminate the threat.”

Phillips, part of the SWAT unit, shot and killed a suspect Jan. 11 after a several-hour standoff at the Lakota Pointe Townhomes after a response to a domestic report. An investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office said Junius Thomas, 31, raised a weapon in a doorway, and the deputy fired.

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A Butler County grand jury reviewed evidence in that incident and declined to issue an indictment.

Because Phillips was involved in the January shooting, Jones made the decision to request BCI conduct the investigation into Monday’s shooting.

Phillips, who was hired in August 2012 as a corrections officer, has returned to work as a detective.