Moraine chief: suspect’s handgun was loaded, had high-capacity magazine

A 23-year-old Dayton man was pointing a Ruger semi-automatic pistol with a high-capacity magazine at two Moraine police officers early Friday morning when he was shot and killed by the officers, Moraine Police Chief Craig Richardson said this afternoon, Saturday Oct. 21.

“The weapon did have a bullet in the chamber,” Richardson said of the suspect’s gun. There may have been as many as 30 rounds in the high-capacity magazine, the chief said. Richardson showed photos of the gun during a press conference at Moraine City Hall Saturday morning.

Jamarco McShann was declared dead at the scene. Officers were investigating a report of a suspicious person in a vehicle at an apartment complex at 3750 Pinnacle Road when the encounter occurred.

>>Moraine police shooting: Man killed is identified

The two officers involved in the shooting were identified as John Howard, a 19-year veteran of the department, and Jerry Knight, who has worked for the department for 19 months. Both road patrol officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is protocol for such incidents.

Moraine police on Friday requested the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to oversee the primary investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting. The Moraine police department will also conduct an internal-affairs investigation, which is part of the department’s protocol in such incidents, Richardson said.

The Moraine police chief laid out the following chain of events that led to the fatal shooting:

>> Moraine Police Shooting: Who is Jamarco McShann?

When officers arrived to investigate the report of a suspicious vehicle, they found McShann asleep or unconscious in a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am with the car stereo on. Officers saw a handgun resting on his right thigh, the chief said.

Officers did not confront him immediately; instead, they first obtained a ballistic shield and put tire-deflation device in front of the car’s tires. They also attempt to contact the owner of the vehicle, but are unsuccessful.

“This all transpires over almost a half-hour,” Richardson said. “This was not something that occurred quickly. This was a slow, methodical process the responding officers used.”

As officers using the ballistic shield re-approached the car, McShann “becomes aware of their presence, and officers begin shouting commands to raise and show his hands, but Mr. McShann fails to comply,” the Moraine chief said.

“Mr. McShann presented a handgun and pointed it at the officers, ignoring orders to drop the gun. Two officers fired their weapons, striking Mr. McShann.”

McShann died at the scene. An autopsy is pending.

One of McShann’s brothers, Jamal McShann, died in a shooting in October 2013 in Dayton. Another brother, Curtis McShann, was sentenced earlier this month to 60 years to life in prison in connection to the Oct. 25, 2016, shooting death of Brandon Lanier, 27, on Riverside Drive in Dayton.

>> PHOTOS: Scene of Moraine police shooting

Jamarco McShann had himself previously faced charges of aggravated robbery, receiving stolen property, carrying a concealed weapon, having a weapon under disability and resisting arrest, according to the Moraine police chief. He had been released from the Lebanon Correctional Institution on Aug. 2, 2016 after serving a three-year sentence stemming from three criminal cases.

Richardson called the incident a “tragedy for our community, for the officers involved, for the McShann family, for the residents of the apartment complex.”

Of his decision to seek the assistance of BCI to oversee the criminal investigation, Richardson said the large number of potential witnesses and evidence would have taxed his relatively small police agency. “It was clear we were going to need some outside assistance,” he said.

BCI spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said late Friday that the bureau’s Special Investigations Unit will lead the investigation. A half-dozen BCI officers were on scene by Friday night.

>> Moraine Police Shooting: Timeline of events

“What we’re going to be doing is conducting an independent investigation to determine the facts about what exactly occurred, and we’ll go from there,” Del Greco said.

BCI is not required to investigate officer-involved shootings, nor are departments required to ask for BCI’s assistance, Del Greco said. But many departments ask for assistance. At least 17 officer-involved shootings have been referred to BCI this year, she said.

BCI’s investigation will focus on whether there were any criminal violations during the incident, but will not make a determination on whether the officers violated any department policies. BCI will refer its findings to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, Del Greco said.

About the Authors