ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio — Police on Wednesday released a handful of new details about the Tuesday afternoon traffic stop that ended in the shooting death of 48-year-old Rodney Barnes — but none that shed light on the reason Barnes had been stopped or why the stop escalated into a gun battle.
The officer who stopped Barnes’ pickup was 25-year-old Officer Nicholas Arn, who joined the Elmwood Place Police Department in June 2019 and had never fired his gun while on-duty.
The stop took place around 1:30 p.m. on Linden Street.
Per an incident report released Wednesday: “While conducting the traffic stop an exchange of gunfire occurred between the operator of the pickup truck and Officer Arn. Additional unit (sic) were notified to respond to the scene to assist Officer Arn.”
Radio traffic from the incident tells the story of how a traffic stop became a fatal shooting in less than a minute.
After Officer Arn radioed in the license plate of the Barnes' truck, 29 seconds pass – then five shots ring out – causing Arn to call for backup before returning fire.
“Cars, all departments, all county broadcast," a Hamilton County dispatcher said. "Shots fired at traffic stop. Highland and Linden. Male black, black shirt. Still with gun in hand.”
At some point, Barnes got out of the truck. Officer Arn, still uncertain of Barnes' status, directed officers to approach the scene safely.
“Have them come from Highland," Arn said over the radio. "The male is in front of the truck. I believe he’s down, but I’m not moving until I get more cars.”
Four other officers arrived on the scene one minute later.
According to Elmwood Place police Chief Eric Bartlett, Arn and Barnes exchanged fire until Barnes was struck.
Barnes would be transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died.
Photos released by the department show a bullet hole in the hood of a police vehicle.
According to court documents, Barnes had been charged with aggravated robbery, robbery and having weapons under disability following an attempted First Financial Bank robbery in early 2018. He was still wanted in connection to the incident at the time of his death.
Court records show the case continued for over a year, but Barnes failed to appear in court during his July 2019 trial.
A judge issued capias writs demanding his return on July 25; according to Hamilton County court documents, the jury convicted him in absentia July 26.
On Aug. 3, a handwritten note approving counsel fees describes Barnes as having “bolted from hospital.”
Crime Stoppers and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office requested the public’s help locating him on Oct. 9, 2019.
Arns has been placed on administrative leave during the shooting investigation.
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.