Deters: Off-duty officer who exchanged shots with bank robber is cleared, not welcome back at bank

Posted at 2:16 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 23:55:49-04

CINCINNATI -- The off-duty police officer who confronted a pair of bank robbers was justified, but isn't welcome back at the bank, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Wednesday, though the bank disputed that claim.

Off-duty Mount St. Joseph University Police Officer Carl Rauschenberger was visiting the Key Bank on Springdale Road in Colerain Township at about 11:30 a.m. May 22 when he saw a pair of bank robbers enter the bank ahead of him, one waving a gun, according to Deters. 

When the first robber, Malcolm Jones, opened the inner door to let his accomplice, Nelson Jones, in, Rauschenberger drew his gun and ordered Nelson Jones down, Deters said. 

Surveillance video shows Malcolm Jones and Rauschenberger exchange shots as customers and bank employees take cover. A glass panel breaks, apparently hit by one of the bullets. 

Rauschenberger "showed remarkable bravery," Deters said.

However, Deters said Key Bank security later called Rauschenberger and told him his business was not wanted there anymore. The bank's policy is to give robbers what they want and worry about catching them later, according to Deters. 

"He just showed a remarkable sense of bravery in that whole video," Deters said. "I mean, he put himself at risk for the safety of others and he should be commended for it. He certainly shouldn't be asked not to be their customer anymore."

However, Key Bank spokesperson Kimberly Kowalski said there appeared to have been a misunderstanding.

"To be clear, at no time did we ask this client to end his relationship with KeyBank and we will contact him to discuss his concerns," she wrote in an email.

Rauschenberger has been with the Mount St. Joseph Police Department for 15 years, has 10 years of experience with the Greenhills Police Department and worked for the Cincinnati Police Department for 28 years, according to Mount St. Joseph Chief Jack Kraft. 

"We commend Officer Carl Rauschenberger for his bravery, valor, and swift decision-making to protect innocent lives during the attempted robbery," Kraft said in a written statement. 

Authorities arrested Nelson Jones, but Malcolm Jones remains at large, according to Deters. Both men have been indicted on federal charges including use of a firearm during a crime of violence and conspiracy to use a firearm during an in relation to a crime of violence. 

Deters said he believes Malcolm Jones was wounded during the exchange of gunfire. 

The prosecutor's office has paid $2,500 to Crime Stoppers for a reward for information leading to Jones' arrest. Deters said they would add $5,000 more if Jones is arrested before Oct. 1. 

Deters asked anyone with information to contact the U.S. attorney's office or the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.