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Sheriff identifies man shot, killed by Elmwood Place officer in exchange of gunfire

Posted at 2:23 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 23:16:16-04

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — A 48-year-old man died after an Elmwood Place police officer shot him on Tuesday, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office confirmed.

Elmwood Place Police Chief Eric Bartlett said there was an exchange of gunfire between the man and officer during a traffic stop at 1:30 p.m. near Linden Street and Highland Avenue.

The man was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The officer, who has been with Elmwood Place Police Department for 18 months, was not injured.

The man was later identified as Rodney Arnez Barnes. According to Hamilton County court records, he was accused of robbing a First Financial Bank in February 2018, and he was still wanted on charges of aggravated robbery and having weapons while under disability.

According to the sheriff's office, Barnes was also listed as a missing person after walking away from the University of Cincinnati Psychiatric Emergency Services.

The officer involved, who has not been identified, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation with the HCSO and Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office. There is no body camera or cruiser camera video in this case, according to Chief Bartlett.

Neighbors on all four sides heard shots in bursts. Up the hill at a nearby drive thru, clerk Bini Yohaaes noticed a police officer pulling someone over. He looked away, telling WCPO he sees police pull over a lot of people in the area.

Then, he heard gunfire and saw the officer hiding behind a police car.

“First he ran, a couple shots. Then after he ran, like five shots,” Yohaaes said.

Brianna Hunter, an 11th grader at Withrow High School, was on her way home on a school bus nearing Linden Street when she saw the officer pulling Barnes over.

“All we saw coming down the street, the police officer had a car pulled over I guess,” Hunter said. “The officer said something. I don’t know what he said. That’s when the officer pulled the gun out. All we heard was gunshots.”

Other neighbors said they heard four shots, a pause, followed by four more shots. Then, cruisers pulled up from Saint Bernard, three Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies, a Cincinnati police officer and an ambulance.

Cecil Rodgers, a nearby resident who was sitting in his kitchen at the time of the shooting, found bullets lodged in the side of his home.

"We ended up with one bullet hitting our window," he said. "It's lodged in the window casing now with several other bullets scattered around. But we're lucky that it didn't come on through for us."

And while neighbor John Gibson's nearby home wasn't struck like the Rodgers,' he was shaken.

"It's kind of scary,” Gibson said. “I mean I could've been outside. I mean, anything could have happened."

Darlene Hail, who lives with her family nearby, said it was an unusual incident for the quiet street.

"The way this happened it was really scary -- I was literally walking down the steps to bring my dog out. I thought it was a car backfiring," she said. "Had I been down there five minutes earlier, I would’ve been in the middle of it.”

Linden Street began to clear by 6:30 p.m. as crews removed the truck Barnes was driving from the scene. The street has since reopened.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (513) 352-3040 or the Hamilton County Sheriff Criminal Investigative Section at (513) 851-6000.