The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office believes Rodney Arnez Barnes, who died Oct. 20 after an armed confrontation with police, took his own life during the exchange of gunfire.
Barnes, 48, was driving on Linden Street that day when an Elmwood Place officer pulled him over for running a stop sign.
At the time, Barnes was still wanted on charges connected to a 2018 bank robbery. He had been arrested for it and even put on trial, but court documents indicate he “bolted” from the psychiatric hospital where he was being held rather than appear in court. He would be convicted in absentia in July 2019.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Barnes told the officer who stopped him that he refused to go back to jail. Barnes shot first, according to Deters.
The officer, Nicholas Arn, returned fire. Barnes was wounded and transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died.
“Although Mr. Barnes sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his body, it has been determined that the lethal wound was to his head, and evidence demonstrates that it was self-inflicted,” a Hamilton County Coroner’s Office spokesperson wrote in a Wednesday statement.
Investigators determined in late October that Arn had acted in self-defense and cleared him to return to work. Deters, whose office conducted the investigation, praised him for acting quickly.
“As a matter of fact, he deserves a medal for what he did,” Deters said. “Innocent lives were at stake, including his own."