CINCINNATI - Cincinnati police have opened three investigations after an officer shot an armed suspect seven times.
During a press conference Saturday afternoon, Police Chief James Craig said 23-year-old Christopher Foster is in critical condition at University Hospital after being shot in his chest, leg and head shortly after 2 p.m. Friday in the 1800 block of Race Street near Findlay Market.
The news has Foster's mother Tia demanding an explanation from police.
"I want them to give me a reason why [Foster] is in intensive care with nine bullets: two to the heart, one to the face, whole leg torn off," Tia said. "I want to understand why is this happening."
Tia claims her son was shot nine times, but police claim the suspect was struck seven times.
Craig also identified the officer involved as Charles Knapp.
Craig says when Knapp confronted Foster and told him he was an officer, Foster pulled a handgun out of his pocket and began shooting at Knapp.
Knapp was on a bicycle and returned fire striking the suspect several times without suffering any injuries to himself.
Knapp has been placed on administrative leave pending three investigations, but Craig says initial reports show Knapp acted in accordance with police policy.
"There was an immediate threat to the officer's life. There was an immediate threat to responding officers. There was a threat certainly to the public," Craig said. "I think really it does say it all there."
Quinton James, an employee of Findlay Market, witnessed the shooting.
"The guy pulled a gun out. The police [officer] retaliated by saving his own life," he said.
James told 9 News that the exchange of gunfire was very close.
"They were basically 10 or 12 feet apart. [Knapp] stayed on his bike while he was shooting. He sat right there on his bike," James said.
9 News has learned that this isn't the first time that Knapp has shot a suspect.
On April, 24 2009, Knapp shot and wounded Addison Alexander. Alexander was wanted for an aggravated robbery. Knapp and other officers chased Alexander. According to Knapp's statement in the report, Alexander turned and pointed a gun at Knapp and Knapp fired.
Here is the narrative from the Citizen's Complaint Authority about that incident:
On April 25, 2009, CCA was notified by CPD PCS of an officer involved critical discharge of firearms incident in the vicinity of East 13th and Walnut Streets. It was determined that Officer Charles Knapp had discharged his service weapon and wounded Addison Alexander during a confrontation on April 24, 2009, at approximately 11:45 P.M.
Officers Knapp, DeFranco and Ruberg were functioning as bicycle officers in a specific area of Over-the-Rhine. Officer Knapp had a photo of Mr. Alexander stored in his cell phone from an in-store camera taken of him during an Aggravated Robbery a few days before. As they approached a group of male subjects on a corner at 13th and Walnut Streets, he observed Mr. Alexander make movements as though he was placing something into the front of his pants; he and another subject began to walk away. Mr. Alexander stated he and another person, unknown to him, were walking when they observed the officers and increased their pace.
Officer Knapp followed him; Officer DeFranco followed the second person, and Officer Ruberg approached the remaining males in the group. Officer Knapp stated he called for Mr. Alexander to stop but he increased his pace and broke into a jog. As they came to 32 East 13th Street, Mr. Alexander entered the building; Officer Knapp stated he dismounted his bicycle and entered the building behind Mr. Alexander, yelling for him to stop. He ran to the opposite end of the hall and attempted to exit by another door but it was secured and he was unable to exit. Mr. Alexander stated he did have a weapon in his possession. Officer Knapp stated Mr. Alexander reached toward the front of his pants with both hands and began to turn toward him. The officer had unsnapped his holster. As he continued to turn, Officer Knapp stated he observed the gun in his hand. Mr. Alexander stated the gun was still in his waistband. He withdrew his service weapon from the holster and fired at him. The shots took effect and Mr. Alexander slumped into a corner of the wall. Officers Knapp and DeFranco stated the gun was recovered from under him. CFD responded and transported him to University Hospital. The Investigator determined the officer was within CPD policy and procedure.