Centers on Boone County cruiser cam
Footage from cruiser camera shows moments leading up to officer-involved shooting.
It was early Saturday when 28-year-old deputy Tyler Brockman began investigating reports of a field party near Hebron. His next actions would lead to the death of 19-year-old Samantha Ramsey.
April 26: Samantha Ramsey, 19, was shot to death by Boone County deputy Tyler Brockman as she drove away from a field party near River Road about 2 a.m. Brockman said Ramsey tried to run over him as he attempted to flag her down. He jumped on the hood and fired four bullets through the windshield. Two witnesses said Brockman had no reason to use deadly force, but a grand jury cleared him. A cruiser cam video was not conclusive.
Deputy Tyler Brockman, 28, shot Samantha Ramsey four times when authorities say she accelerated her vehicle and struck him during a traffic stop outside a field party near Hebron, Kentucky Saturday.
The sheriff's department released footage from the cruiser camera that shows the moments leading up to the incident.
COVINGTON, Ky., APRIL 26, 2014 -- The family of 19-year-old Samantha Ramsey provided this photo of the Covington resident who died in an officer-involved shooting near Hebron, Ky. Saturday.
HEBRON, Ky. -- It was early Saturday when 28-year-old deputy Tyler Brockman began investigating reports of a field party near Hebron.
With about four years as a Boone County sheriff’s deputy under his belt, he parked his cruiser and started to approach a vehicle.
His next actions would lead to the death of 19-year-old Samantha Ramsey.
Now, investigators are trying to determine if Brockman followed protocol.
Witnesses say Ramsey was on her way out when Brockman arrived near the 6000 block of River Road.
But when he asked Ramsey to stop, officials said she accelerated, striking and flipping him onto the hood of her car and injuring his leg.
That’s when Brockman opened fire, shooting her four times.
“Imagine that you are the deputy and you are trying to stop that car,” Boone County Sheriff’s spokesperson Tom Scheben said. “Within seconds, it is all over with. In those few seconds, this is how I have to save my life.”
Scheben said Brockman exited his cruiser to administer field sobriety tests.
But not everyone agrees with the retelling of the incident by the sheriff’s office.
One of three passengers in Ramsey's vehicle described the exchange differently.
"We saw three cars, so we thought we could go pass," said Bobby Turner, who was in the backseat behind Ramsey when she was shot. "The officer was talking to somebody else. We was listening to music in the car. We didn't know the police was talking to us… I just saw him jump on the hood and start shooting.”
Turner said the incident happened so fast, he didn't even see Brockman withdraw his gun.
Another witness at the scene also said the confrontation happened within seconds.
From his perspective across the street, Josh Pitts of Covington said it appeared Brockman leapt onto Ramsey’s vehicle.
"As she was trying to make a turn and leave the party, he jumped on the car and pulled his gun out and shot four times through the window and hit the girl," Pitts said.
Pitts said it looked like Ramsey might have panicked during the confrontation.
Former University of Cincinnati Police Chief Ed Bridgeman said if Brockman were to jump on the hood, then he would have gone against traditional training.
"I can't envision any time that a police officer would voluntarily jump onto the hood of a moving vehicle,” Bridgeman said. “That's just so far outside of the realm of the training that is universally applied to this."
Instead, Bridgeman said the normal response for an officer in Brockman’s position is to get out of the way.
"There's a person with a couple tons of steel with a motor behind it that can cause you problems,” Bridgeman said. “So, you have to protect yourself first."
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After shots were fired, Ramsey's vehicle was put in reverse and ended up in a ditch, officials said.
Dash video from Brockman’s cruiser caught the moments leading up to the shooting.
In the footage, Brockman is seen approaching Ramsey’s vehicle, shining a flashlight on her face before she accelerates.
The rest of the incident happens off camera.
Attorneys examining the case said they are confused as to why Brockman wasn't wearing reflective clothing when approaching vehicles outside the party.
In the video, Brockman appears to be two feet from Ramsey's car when she drives off. Attorneys said they wonder if his flashlight and other flashing lights at the scene temporarily blinded her.
Bridgeman said the decision by the sheriff’s office to release the dash video during an open investigation shows good transparency.
"Everybody now watching television expects this,” he said. “Everybody knows that all vehicles – all police vehicles – have the dash cam for traffic stops. So, it's expected. If you don't release it, you have the potential for someone asking, ‘What are you hiding?’"
In a 2009 application for employment with the Boone County Sheriff's Office, Brockman described himself as a “highly-motivated and focused individual with creative problem solving skills and outstanding interpersonal communication skills.”
Brockman spent several years preparing for the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, but had to come home due to an injury, according to his application.
“I am a rock solid, highly dependable individual with no personal issues to take to a job,” Brockman said in his application. “I have a squeaky clean record. I am a highly motivated, detail-oriented and goal-driven individual. I will NEVER give up.”
Brockman received a glowing recommendation from Linnemann Family Funeral Homes President G. Guy Linnemann.
Linnemann called Brockman a man of character and exceptionally intelligent.
"He is wise beyond his years,” Linnemann said. “And he will make an excellent police officer."
Brockman, who received a masters in criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati, was commended for several actions deemed noteworthy by his superiors during his time as a deputy, according to his personnel file.
Those commendations included good use of teamwork and observation skills in a January 2014 drug bust.
In his latest annual evaluation, Brockman was graded as either "excellent" or "acceptable" in every category. He was never listed as “needing improvement.”
Boone County Sgt. Kayne Brown wrote in Brockman's evaluation that his "dedication and pride of the K9 division shows every day.”
“He often buys items that are morale boosters and gives them to members of the team,” Brown said. “He goes above and beyond with everything he does."
Boone County Sheriff Michael Helmig ordered a full investigation of the incident.
Brockman, a Boone County deputy since 2010, was placed on administrative leave Saturday -- which is protocol in deputy-involved shootings.
Visitation for Ramsey is Friday from 3 to 8 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Ludlow. Her funeral is Saturday at 10 a.m.
WCPO's Brian Mains contributed to this report.