Off-duty police officer cleared in teen robbery suspect shooting

An off-duty Miami Twp. police officer has been cleared by a grand jury in the shooting of armed robbery suspect attempting to flee a volatile Miamisburg crime scene near I-75.

Officer James Swearingen was not indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury for his Feb. 5 actions in wounding a 17-year-old Dayton suspect who may face adult charges, according to the Miamisburg Police Department.

The decision was announced Friday.

“Officer Swearingen took immediate action and attempted to stop the armed teen, which led to an exchange of gunfire,” according to a statement released Friday afternoon by Miamisburg Sgt. Jeff Muncy. “The armed robber was struck twice and was ultimately secured and taken to the hospital, where he was treated for his injuries.”

The shooting case was presented to a grand jury on Thursday and Swearingen “was cleared of any wrongdoing,” according to Muncy’s statement. “The incident itself remains under investigation, and the case is currently pending court action/disposition.”

Miami Twp. Police Chief Ron Hess said via email “we’re pleased with the decision of the Montgomery County Grand Jury and want to thank the Miamisburg Police Department for their investigation into this incident.

“Now that the criminal investigation has concluded in regards to the actions of Officer Swearingen, the Miami Township Police Department will begin an internal investigations to ensure that all the policies and procedures were followed as is standard practice,” he added.

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Swearingen twice shot the teen in the right arm as the suspect was seeking to carjack several vehicles after the suspect’s stolen vehicle broke down shortly after robbing a Shell station in heavy traffic near Ohio 725 and Interstate 75 interchange, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck, Jr. has said.

Heck said Swearingen arrived on the scene as the suspect was fleeing, identified himself as a police officer, ordered the teen to drop his .45-caliber gun and shot him when the suspect failed to comply.

The Dunbar High School student was charged in juvenile court Tuesday with seven counts of aggravated robbery, one count of felonious assault on a police officer, one count of impersonating an officer and a weapons charge.

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Among other charges, the 17-year-old is accused of having “did knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to” a police officer “by means of a deadly weapon,” court records filed Tuesday show.

Heck said prosecutors will seek to try the teen as an adult on all charges, which include an accusation of armed robbery for carjacking a vehicle on the night of Feb. 4, Heck has said.

Heck said the teen’s Feb. 5 actions – which include claiming to be an undercover federal agent - near the busy interchange “could have resulted in a number of injuries and deaths.”


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