Ex-deputy charged in fatal Ohio shooting says he was in fear

AP News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2017 12:24 PM

WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio deputy sheriff accused of fatally shooting an unarmed man after a chase testified he fired because he thought the suspect was leaning down to grab a weapon.

Former Pike County Deputy Joel Jenkins, who also is charged in a separate fatal shooting, said he yelled, "Please don't do it" when he saw the man raise his arm as if he had something in his hand.

"I thought he was retrieving a weapon," Jenkins said Friday, describing how he said Ronald Rooker bent down in the cab of his pickup.

Prosecutors told jurors Jenkins unnecessarily fired nine times through the windows of Rooker's stopped truck at the end of the chase in March 2015, striking the 26-year-old seven times.

A defense attorney said Jenkins had feared for his life and was justified in firing at the driver, who had sped away from a traffic stop and tried to ram law enforcement vehicles. But prosecutors said Rooker wasn't a threat when he was shot because his truck was pinned against a tree.

Jurors are expected to begin deliberating next week.

Jenkins, 32, testified that he thought Rooker was going to kill him. "I just don't have the time to wait and see," he said.

He had been a deputy with the Pike County Sheriff's Office in southern Ohio about two years when he shot Rooker after a 17-mile chase.

No trial has been scheduled in the second shooting, which happened in December 2015 in Jenkins' home. He has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and other charges in that case, which involves what he says was the accidental, off-duty shooting of a neighbor. Jenkins says he was showing a gun to a neighbor when it fired.