Dayton police chief: ‘We regret that this encounter resulted in the loss of life’

Man killed by Dayton officer reportedly went for Taser.

A Dayton police officer fatally shot a man who fled a traffic stop Thursday night after the man reportedly tried to get the officer’s Taser. It marked the third officer-involved shooting in the city in about a month.

Police officer Cody Hartings fired two shots during an altercation involving 29-year-old Michael Tyree Tuck, and a bullet went through Tuck’s arm and penetrated his torso and lung, said Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl.

In police radio audio recordings, Hartings said, “He’s trying to take my Taser.”

“We regret that this encounter resulted in the loss of life,” Biehl said Friday. “It is our intention and our sincerest efforts to affect arrests without force or injury.”

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Hartings and his partner are on administrative leave during the investigation into the fatal shooting.

Police recovered a backpack they say they believe belonged to Tuck that had marijuana, a firearm and an extended magazine clip.

Tuck, who was pronounced dead at the hospital, had a criminal record that prohibits him from possessing a firearm, and police will do further forensic testing to try to conclusively determine that the backpack was his, the chief said.

Biehl said this was the Dayton Police Department’s fourth officer-involved shooting in 2019. Three have taken place in the last four and a half weeks.

In mid-July, police shot a suspect in an apartment complex in West Dayton after he fled. The man survived.

On Aug. 4, Dayton police shot and killed a gunman in the Oregon District who murdered nine people in less than a minute.

Four officer-involved shootings happened in 2018, and none was fatal, a police spokesperson said. One officer-involved shooting in 2017 also was not fatal.

Attempts to reach Tuck’s family for comment on Friday were unsuccessful. Multiple people who were gathered near and around the place where Tuck was shot declined comment.

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At 8:44 p.m. Thursday, Hartings and another uniformed police officer in a marked police cruiser attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a 2009 Chevy Impala, Biehl said. The officers said the car was driving erratically, as if to elude police, and had a dark window tint, police said.

The traffic stop took place in the alley between Gramont Avenue and Anna Street, south of West Second Street.

After the Impala came to a stop, a suspect wearing a backpack exited the driver’s side of the vehicle and took off running, according to cruiser cam video of the traffic stop.

Hartings chased after the suspect. His partner, who was not identified, stayed with the Impala until Hartings made distress calls over police radio.

At 8:45 p.m., Hartings asked for additional crews over the radio, and a Taser can be heard in the background being deployed, according to police and a timeline prepared by the police department.

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Hartings asks for help multiple times in the next couple of minutes before advising of gunshots at 8:47 p.m., police said.

“Shots fired, shots fired,” he says over the police radio.

Hartings pursued the suspect on foot for about 381 yards, which ended in a vacant lot in the area of 114 Brooklyn Avenue, police said. The grassy lot, between two vacant homes, is just north of the intersection of Delphos Avenue and West Third Street.

Crews asked for a first aid kit at 8:49 p.m., and a medic is requested less than one minute later, police said.

Police said they found the backpack with marijuana and a Glock pistol in an alley east of Shoop Avenue.

During a Friday afternoon press conference, Biehl shared a slide with Tuck’s criminal history, which they say includes resisting arrest, carrying concealed weapons, receiving stolen property, drug possession and obstruction.

Hartings has been a police officer since April 2016. He has received two unit citations, one written commendation, two oral reprimands and one written reprimand. Two reprimands were for using “profane” and “unprofessional” language, and one was for failing to report a complaint to a supervisor.

He received commendations for his work on the SWAT team and his performance during the arrest of two burglary suspects.

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Hartings also was one of three police officers who used force during an incident in February. A video posted on Facebook of the arrest of two people for obstructing official business and disorder conduct went viral and led to some criticism of the officers’ actions.

When police attempt to arrest someone but are met with resistance and violence, injuries can occur, and rarely, it can lead to death, Biehl said.

The police investigation will look at all evidence to try to figure out what happened and the factors that contributed to this “tragic outcome,” Biehl said.

The investigation will be reviewed by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, and the police department will do its own administrative investigation to find out if the officers’ actions complied with regulations, procedures and training, Biehl said.

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