Sheriff: Man shot, killed by police recently released from prison

Benjamin Cotton had 2 convictions for assault on police officer

A man who was shot and killed by police early Friday was suffering from drug addiction and struggling to adjust to home life after he was released last month from prison.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl and Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said law enforcement had multiple contacts regarding Benjamin Price Cotton, 24, who later was shot and killed after he reportedly charged officers early Friday with a weapon on Sherer Avenue in Harrison Twp.

Both sheriff’s deputies and Dayton police officers fired at Cotton as he advanced with a knife, Streck said Friday afternoon during a joint press conference with the Dayton Police Department.

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The first 911 call came Thursday morning from the Cotton home in the 2200 block of Sherer Avenue in Harrison Twp., when Cotton’s brother called to say Cotton had assaulted his father by throwing him down onto a bench outside. When a deputies responded, they could not find Cotton, Streck said.

Deputies returned to the Cotton home Thursday afternoon after family members said they were concerned their father may be in danger. Cotton was described as high on methamphetamine .Cotton never showed up, Sheriff said.

Deputies were called to the Cotton home for a third time at 2 a.m. Friday after a 911 caller said that Cotton had stabbed his father, who was taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Cotton had barricaded himself inside the house, where he was alone.

Four deputies initially were dispatched and five Dayton police officers were called to assist. While there, officers and deputies used a loudspeaker to try to get Cotton to come out. In the house, Cotton was seen opening and closing window blinds and turning lights on and off, Streck said.

Benjamin Price Cotton
Benjamin Price Cotton

With deputies and police on scene, there were two significant encounters with Cotton.

The first was at 3:39 a.m. when Cotton came outside and began to come aggressively toward deputies and an officer, Biehl said.

Law enforcement uses “less lethal” means to try to take Cotton into custody. First, deputies use 12-gauge bean bag rounds, which had no effect. Then, Dayton officers approached Cotton and use a Taser, which also had no effect. Cotton broke officers’ grasp. A K9 also was released, but Cotton managed to get back inside the house.

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The second encounter happened at 3:54 a.m. on the porch.

“Mr. Cotton comes out of the front door, armed with a knife … screaming incoherently and stabbing the knife in the air … in the direction of nearby officers and deputies,” Biehl said. “Officers and deputies gave Mr. Cotton multiple commands over 25 seconds to drop the knife and surrender himself. Mr. Cotton then begins advancing toward officers, forcing them to discharge their weapons in self-defense.”

Medics, which were staged nearby, were immediately called in for Cotton and Dayton police K9 Rio, who was injured in the leg, either by shrapnel or a bullet, Biehl said. The injury was superficial and the dog was treated and released from an emergency veterinary hospital, the chief said.

Cotton was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officers who fired at Cotton were identified by Biehl as Deputies Thomas Barnes and Dan Casey and Dayton police officers Jamie Luckoski, who is K9 Rio’s handler, Christopher Bartley, Jason Bryant and Terrell Moore.

Barnes joined the sheriff’s office in November 2015, and Casey in May 2011.

Luckoski has been with the Dayton Police Department since September 2014, and Moore since August 2016. Officers Bartley and Bryant were just sworn in in April 2020, Biehl said.

Timeline of Events

  • 2 a.m.: 911 caller reports domestic violence situation between Benjamin Cotton and his father. Caller also says that Cotton is on meth
  • 2:01 a.m.: Deputies dispatched
  • 2:05 a.m.: Caller says that his father was possibly stabbed and was bleeding from back of neck.
  • 2:07 a.m.: Cotton barricaded himself inside the house, alone
  • 2:08 am. Dayton officers dispatch to the scene to assist
  • 3:39 a.m. Cotton came out onto the front porch where officers attempt to use less lethal (Taser and 12-gauge bean bag rounds) means to arrest Cotton, which was unsuccessful. Cotton goes back inside house.
  • 3:49 a.m.: SWAT/hostage negotiators callout initiated
  • 3:54 a.m.: Cotton comes out the front door
  • 3:55:04 a.m.: Officers see Cotton with a knife and he starts to advance on officers
  • 3:55:29 a.m.: Shots fired
  • 3:56 a.m.: Medics requested for Cotton and Dayton Police K9 Rio

Cotton was released from prison Feb. 2 following his conviction for two assaults on police officers, one on Oct. 17, 2018, and one on Aug. 7, 2019, Biehl said. The chief said that Cotton had a mental health history and access to resources for that condition.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is handling the investigation. The sheriff’s office and police department will be conducting separate independent investigations once the criminal investigation is over, Biehl said.