Hamilton County Coroner today released new information on a fatal shooting by Cincinnati Police. The coroner is finishing the final autopsy report 19-year old Dontez O'Neal.
Police say O'Neal was the target of an ongoing drug investigation and he tried to drive off last week when they moved in to make an arrest. Officers say when O'Neal was trapped at the dead end of Burton Street he put his car in reverse and slammed into a police cruiser. Officer Orlando Smith opened fire.
Today the coroner says O'Neal was hit four times. The fatal wound was a shot to the lower left region of the chest. One shot grazed his head and two more shots hit O'Neal in the left shoulder.
Story updated on November 26, 2012
Cincinnati Police are trying a new tactic to find a man who ran away from the scene of an officer-involved shooting on the day before Thanksgiving. On Monday, officials released the radio transmissions from the deadly encounter.
One man was killed and another injured on Burton Avenue in Avondale. But one of the men in the car got away, and efforts to find him have been unsuccessful. Local 12 News Reporter Angenette Levy says officers are now putting up a reward in the search for that suspect.
Police Chief James Craig hopes a $5000 reward will entice someone to come forward who has information about a third suspect who ran away during that officer-involved shooting. "We're concerned. We want this suspect taken into custody. He pointed a weapon at our police officer."
Chief Craig says his department has not yet identified the third man who's on the run. He ran away last Wednesday night, when officer Orlando Smith tried to pull over a vehicle carrying the unknown man, Dontez O'Neal and Robert Matthews - who was under investigation for dealing heroin. Officer Smith shot and killed Dontez O'Neal - after police say he fired at Smith. Bobby Matthews was also hit.
Chief Craig says he's confident they'll find the man who's on the loose. "You don't get to point a gun and then fire a gun at a police officer with the intent to try to murder that police officer."
Officer Smith remains on a seven-day, paid administrative leave which is standard procedure in any officer-involved shooting.
Anyone with information about the third man on the run can call Crimestoppers. The number is 352-3040. You can remain anonymous and earn a cash reward for your clues.
Story updated on November 24, 2012
Cincinnati's acting Police Chief, James Whalen said Friday the victim in Wednesday evening's fatal police shooting fired at least one shot at a police officer. Speaking at a news conference on the shooting, Whalen also said 19-year-old Dontez O'Neal was not even involved in the drug investigation which led to the fatal shooting. Officers did not expect O'Neal to be in the car.
The Westwood man was behind the wheel of the car which drove away from from two undercover officers who were trying to pull it over after buying heroin from the three men inside. Whalen said the fleeing suspects eventually pulled down a dead end on Burton Avenue. That's when O'Neal allegedly put the car in reverse and slammed into the undercover officers unmarked car. Cincinnati police officer Orlando Smith who had joined the pursuit, then pulled his marked cruiser alongside the suspects car trying to get O'Neal to stop.
Whalen said at that point an unnamed suspect jumped out of the car, pointed a weapon at officer Smith then ran away into the neighborhood. Officer Smith fired a couple of shots at the suspect, but Whalen does not believe any shots hit the man.
Whalen said O'Neal then stepped halfway out of the car and fired a shot at officer Smith with a .45 caliber handgun. The officer returned fire, striking O'Neal several times as he got back into the car
Whalen said one of officer Smith's shots grazed 23-year-old Robert Matthews who was in the back seat of the car. The shot hit Matthews in the arm. According to Whalen, it was Matthews who was the target of the undercover drug investigation. Officers eventually recovered a .380 caliber gun from the floor of the car where Matthews had been sitting.
The coroner says Dontez O'Neal died from several gunshot wounds. Police never found the suspect who ran away. Rescuers took Robert Matthews to University Hospital for treatment. Doctors released him from the Hospital Thursday and he appeared in Hamilton County Municipal Court Friday morning for his arraignment.
A judge ordered Matthews held on $100,000 bond. The 23-year-old appeared in municipal court wearing a sling on his arm. He was represented by attorney Eric Deters.
Acting Chief Whalen said Officer Orlando Smith is an 18-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Force. He's been reassigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting. This is standard procedure anytime an officer is involved in a shooting.