The Miamisburg police officer who shot a Dayton man wanted for an Indiana armed robbery was firing on a federal felon pointing a “fully-loaded” gun at him, authorities said Friday.
The officer - who Police Chief John Sedlak identified only as “Officer B” - wounded Jeremy Watson “multiple” times in the left leg Tuesday night while helping Dearborn County, Indiana law enforcement apprehend the 38-year-old suspect.
The shooting is the fourth officer-involved such incident in Montgomery County’s south suburbs in six months. It occurred just after 6:30 p.m. as Watson was leaving a room at the Red Roof Inn on Byers Road, authorities have said.
Two “Miamisburg officers gave chase as Watson ran to the southeast corner of the property, where he was cornered,” Sedlak said. “Watson fell to the ground, rolled onto his back and pointed the handgun at the officer.”
Watson did not fire a shot and only one Miamisburg officer shot at Watson, Sedlak said. He declined to identify either officer, saying “at this point in the investigation, it would not be appropriate for me to do so.”
Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, the chief said. Watson remains hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, authorities said.
A criminal investigation into the shooting is being conducted by the Tactical Crime Suppression Unit, a coalition of eight south suburban communities, many of which responded to Tuesday night’s shooting.
Watson was charged Wednesday with armed robbery and possession of a firearm in connection with a Monday robbery at a Dollar General store in Bright, Ind., according to the Dearborn County, Indiana prosecutor.
When he is released from the hospital, the Dayton man may be guarded by U.S. marshals when he is taken back to Indiana, Sedlak said.
Watson has federal felony convictions and currently has a warrant for his arrest for a federal probation violation, in addition to the warrants for this week’s robbery in Indiana, Sedlak said.
Those convictions stem from aggravated robbery, robbery, attempted carjacking and brandishing a sawed-off shotgun in 2004, and auto theft in 2005, Sedlak said.
Watson’s state criminal record dates back to 1998, area court records show. He was convicted in February 1999 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on felonious assault, court records show.
Dayton Municipal Court records also show four convictions for Watson from 1998 to 2004 on charges ranging from criminal damaging, resisting arrest and menacing.
On Tuesday, Watson was identified as the man who robbed the Indiana Dollar General store, asking for “all the money in the money drawer” and showing the clerk a black handgun tucked in his waistband, according to a Facebook post by Dearborn County Prosecutor Lynn Deddens.
He then “brandished the firearm and pointed it at her and the other employee present,” Deddens wrote.
According to Deddens, Indiana detectives received a search warrant for Watson’s cell phone records and confirmed he was in the area of the Dollar General store at the time of the robbery.
They further tracked Watson to the Red Roof Inn in Miamisburg and went there, according to Deddens. At the hotel, the detectives saw Watson wearing clothing that was similar to clothing worn during the armed robbery in Indiana.
Tuesday night’s shooting is the fourth police-involved shooting in southern Montgomery County in the past six months. Suspects have been fired on by officers in Moraine and twice by Miami Twp. police, with two of the incidents ending in fatalities.
This week’s shooting was the first time a Miamisburg police officer discharged his weapon in the line of duty in since 2010, records show. In that incident, an officer fired at a suspect thinking officers were being targeted, Sedlak said. However, the shot fired was because the suspect shot himself, Sedlak said.
In Tuesday night’s shooting, multiple jurisdictions responded to the scene after a signal 99 indicating an officer in distress went out. They included several cities which are members of the Tactical Crime Suppression Unit (TCSU), police said.
Members of the unit include Centerville, Germantown, Kettering, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Springboro and West Carrollton.
Not all unit members responded with crews, Davis said. But some non-members – such as the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Twp. and German Twp. – did, he said.
The number of jurisdictions responding to the scene complicated the investigation, causing TCSU investigators to spend more time sorting out details, said TCSU Spokesman John Davis of the Centerville Police Department.
Authorities were “trying to gather information from multiple sources….we’re just having to do a little more legwork than we normally would,” Davis said earlier this week.
Having to “go through information from multiple agencies, It’s just taking a little more time to put it together,” he added.
Authorities were out at the scene until late Tuesday night, and met Wednesday and Thursday as part of the investigation, Davis said. He said nine detectives from various jurisdictions were involved in the initial response.
“Pretty much the investigators that have been involved right now, this is what they’ve been doing since it happened,” Davis said. “And I’m sure people in their agencies are probably helping them accomplish things to.”