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Chief: Gunman told officer and guardian 'We will meet in hell'

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CINCINNATI - 9 News has learned the names of those involved in a fatal shooting in the West End Friday.

Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig says Officer Benjamin Schneider shot and killed Kevin Willingham, 51, at a home at 828 York Street at about 6:15 p.m. Schneider joined the force in 2008.

Craig says Officer Schneider was accompanying a guardian with Personal Guardianship Services to do a wellness check at the home of Willingham's sister, Angeli Marisa Johnson. Johnson is bed-ridden and needs 24-hour care, according to Craig.

A Hamilton County magistrate issued a court order granting guardianship to the company earlier that day.

"The guardian handed Mr. Willingham the court order and it came clear Mr. Willingham became visibly agitated. As Mr. Willingham read the court order, Officer Schneider requested Mr. Willingham to allow Officer Schneider and the guardian to enter the residence," Craig said. "Mr. Willingham gave the guardian the court order and stated, 'We will meet in hell' and shut the door to the residence."

Officer Schneider requested access to the residence several more times and then opened the door after Willingham told him to come inside, according to Craig.

"He observed Mr. Willingham standing approximately 10 feet from Officer Schneider in the hallway entry. Mr. Willingham had both arms extended and pointing a black firearm at Officer Schneider," Craig said.

"Officer Schneider, without regard for his personal safety, shut the door, turned and grabbed the guardian. Officer Schneider pushed the guardian to the front of the residence away from the threat represented by Mr. Willingham," Craig said. "Mr. Willingham exited the residence and continued to point the firearm at Officer Schneider."

"The guardian heard Officer Schneider order Mr. Willingham to drop his firearm twice. Officer Schneider discharged his department-issued firearm four times striking Mr. Willingham. Mr. Willingham fell to the ground and then dropped his firearm," said Craig. "It should be noted from the time the officer saw the armed suspect, it took less than a minute for the officer discharge his weapon."

The weapon held by Willingham was .380 semi-automatic Bersa, fully loaded with the safety off, according to Craig.

During Saturday's press conference, Craig praised Officer Schneider's actions.

"He's a hero," said Craig. "There was an immediate threat to his life and to the life of the guardian and certainly anyone else outside. He took appropriate and decisive action."

Officer Schneider has been placed on administrative leave, which is normal procedure for when an officer is involved in a shooting.

Stay with 9 News and for more on this developing story.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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