CINCINNATI - Cincinnati police said an officer shot and killed a suspect Wednesday only after the man fired a gun at the officer. Acting Police Chief James Whalen and Mayor Mark Mallory briefed the media about the police department's account of the event Friday afternoon.
Whalen identified the dead man as Dontez Oneal, 19, of Avondale.
The shooting occurred after undercover police officers said they bought heroin from Robert "Bobby" Mathews in Winton Terrace on Wednesday afternoon. Mathews, 23, lives in Avondale and is described by police as a prominent gang member involved in drug activity throughout the city.
The undercover officers followed a car that contained Mathews, Oneal and an unidentified man from Winton Terrace to Avondale. That's when they requested a uniformed officer to stop the suspects, Whalen said.
Officer Orlando Smith attempted to stop the car on Burton Avenue. The vehicle made a U-turn and attempted to leave, but Smith's cruiser blocked its exit. At that point, Oneal allegedly pointed a gun at Smith and fired, but missed the officer.
Smith returned fire, hitting Oneal at least five times, including once in the head. Oneal died shortly afterward. One of Smith's bullets also hit Mathews in the arm; Mathews was seated behind Oneal in the vehicle.
Mayor Mark Mallory said the incident was tragic and mourned the loss of life, but added that it's also a lesson about what can happen when people don't listen to the police.
Members of the Avondale Community Council and area pastors were invited by police to the press conference, and privately briefed about the incident.
Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge William Mallory Jr., the mayor's brother, ruled Friday morning that Mathews be held on a $100,000 bond. Matthews is facing four counts of drug trafficking.
The shootings happened near the intersection of Reading Road and Burton Avenue in Avondale around 5:30 pm.
Mathews has retained Eric Deters as his attorney. Deters has said his client was unarmed and initially denied medical treatment by police.
Mathews wore a sling on his arm during his Friday morning court appearance.
Police say a third suspect -- a black man in his 20s -- fled the scene and remains at large.