Kettering chief: Evidence so far points to justified shooting

Kettering Police shot and killed a man they said ignored commands to drop his weapon and fired a gun at them Sunday night, the third officer-involved shooting in Montgomery County since April.

Kettering Police Chief Christopher Protsman said his department is performing two separate investigations — one criminal and one internal — to determine whether the shooting of James Tober Sr. in the 2100 block of Gay Drive was justified. He said so far the evidence indicates that the officers acted properly.

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Two Kettering officers were placed on administrative leave after the incident, standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting. Their names were not released. Protsman said they each had been with the department for more than five years.

The Dayton Daily News filed public records requests for the personnel records of the officers involved, as well as any previous police calls to the home and any previous calls involving Tober. Kettering police did not respond to those requests by Monday evening.

He said he didn’t know if Tober had previous run-ins with the police. The 911 caller says that he didn’t have a criminal record.

officers were called to the 2100 block of Gay Drive about 10 p.m. Sunday by a woman who said Tober, a white man in his 60s, was yelling at her while possibly having some sort of mental health episode. The woman told dispatchers that she was hiding and needed help.

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“I told him that if he didn’t stop yelling at me I was going to call the police … and he went and got the gun and he said, ‘I’ll be waiting for them,’” the woman said in the 911 call.

When officers arrived, they found Tober holding a gun and standing in the road, Protsman said.

“As officers approached there was an exchange of gunfire and the suspect, James Tober Sr., was struck,” the chief said. “Officers performed CPR at the scene until medical personnel arrived. Mr. Tober was transported to Kettering Medical Center, where he died from his injuries. No officers were injured.”

The woman said in the 911 call that Tober had some mental health issues in the past, but had been acting out since he began taking medication .

In cruiser dash camera video released Monday, an officer, who was not identified, can be heard speaking to another and saying that they need to get to the scene because the caller is in danger.

The footage doesn’t show the shooting, but officers can be heard telling a man to drop his weapon, then shots being fired.

Officers request a medic immediately after the shooting stops. The shots can be heard in the 911 call.

“I need to tell him I love him,” the woman says after the man was shot. “He’s not a bad guy. He’s not.”

The Dayton Daily News spoke with neighbors who said Tober was quiet and could be seen riding his motorcycles around the neighborhood.

“It’s shocking,” James Couch said. “The guy kept to himself.”

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Couch said he was just coming home as the shooting took place and he could hear the gunfire.

“The whole street was covered with police,” Couch said.

Another neighbor told the Dayton Daily News that she didn’t know Tober, but he always offered a friendly wave while driving by her home.

The Kettering officer-involved shooting took place in the midst of debate and protests surrounding police use of force across the country.

“We understand what’s being said around the country. We understand the negativity around law enforcement just because of what one idiot did in another town that should have never been done and he should pay for it,” Protsman said. “But people need to understand that’s not a good picture of law enforcement. What’s a good picture of law enforcement is what happened here last night when officers were rushing to save somebody. What’s a good example is what those six Dayton officers did last year (to stop the Oregon District mass shooter).”

The Kettering officers involved in the Sunday-night shooting are doing well, Protsman said, but will receive counseling.

This was the third officer involved-shooting in Montgomery County in a little over two months. The first took place on April 21 when five Dayton police officers shot Derrick Wolfe in the 1000 block of Chelsea Avenue. Officers said Wolfe pointed a weapon at them and endangered officers’ and neighbors’ lives.

The other was the May shooting of Cory Driscoll by a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy at Possum Creek MetroPark. Neither shooting was fatal at the time. Both shootings remain under investigation.

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