SOUTH LEBANON, OHIO -- The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office found that police acted properly in an April 21 officer-involved shooting death in South Lebanon.
In a two-page release Monday, Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell said, “Based upon my review of the reports of the investigation, as well as the statements of numerous witnesses, I believe that the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances . . . I do not believe there is any evidence of criminal conduct or the criminal use of force on the part of anybody other than Warren Gary Cook.”
The Warren County Tactical Response Unit engaged in a two-hour standoff with Cook at a house on Lebanon Road after family members said the 56-year-old violated a civil protective order filed by his mother.
Throughout the standoff police said Cook threatened officers with physical violence as he refused to leave the house.
"There would be statements like, 'Kiss your family because I'm going to kill all of you. This is not going to end well. I'm not coming out' - basically shouting statements about how he would kill people," Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims said shortly after the shooting.
When the full tactical unit arrived, Cook produced a loaded shotgun while wearing a white bulletproof vest and again threatened police. It was at that time three officers fired five rounds at Cook.
Deputy Ryan Sailor, Mason Officer Aaron Schaffer and Lebanon Officer Nathan Trout were put on paid leave immediately after the shooting as the investigation began.
Cook was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cook had previous run-ins with the sheriff's office dating back to 2009, Sims said in April.
"No one wants to go to these types of calls, but they did what they had to do," he said. "This is what they trained for. They hope they don't have to use it, but they did what was necessary and that's what's unfortunate for Mr. Cook and his family."