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Sheriff: Cop shoots homicide fugitive on I-75

Posted: 1:48 PM, Mar 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-30 11:00:14-04
Police: Man with knife shot on I-75
Police: Man with knife shot on I-75
Police: Man with knife shot on I-75

EVENDALE, Ohio -- A suburban Cincinnati police officer shot a man Tuesday who officials say was armed with a knife and walking along the shoulder of Interstate 75.

The incident closed the highway for several hours and raised questions about why the man -- suspected in a fatal stabbing two weeks ago in Maryland -- was here in the first place.

Javier Pablo Aleman, 46, was considered a fugitive at the time of Tuesday's shooting, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. He has no known ties to the Greater Cincinnati area, the sheriff's office said.

Baltimore County Police spokesman Cpl. John Wachter -- who identified the suspect as Pablo Javier Aleman -- said he is wanted in connection to the March 17 stabbing death of Victor Adolfo Serrano, 51. Serrano was found suffering multiple stab wounds in the unincorporated community of Dundalk, Maryland. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Wachter did not release a motive for Serrano's death Tuesday night.

Aleman was stable at University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He will be held on the Baltimore County arrest warrant until he appears for an extradition hearing, according to the sheriff's office.

Police said they approached Aleman and asked if he needed a ride, which police said he ignored. At that point, authorities say, the officer -- Patrol Officer Josh Hilling, 31, of the Glendale Police Department -- exited the vehicle and exchanged words with Aleman.

Glendale Police Chief Dave Warman said it's department policy for officers to check any bags before allowing someone into a police cruiser, and that's what led to the confrontation.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Maj. Mike Horton told reporters at the scene Tuesday that the shooting was the result of a "very brief contact" between Hilling and Aleman.

Mary Beth Von Gries said she saw Aleman approaching the officer moments before the shooting. That officer, she said, "had his gun all held back. He was walking backwards, trying to keeping his distance from the gentleman."

"It was just bizarre, you know -- blown me totally out of the water seeing all that right there," she said.

911 calls and police scanner traffic from the incident Tuesday afternoon included witnesses describing seeing an officer seemingly involved in an apparent struggle.

Three motorists' calls to 911 have also been released. Here is a summary of text from those calls.

Caller: "There's a police officer that has someone pulled over just before Shepherd … He's hitting him."

Caller: "I think there's a policeman in trouble on 75 South … He's pointing his gun at the police car so I don't know if anyone got in it."

Caller: "I'm traveling southbound on 75 between exits 15 and 13 and there was an officer that had somebody on the side of the road. That looks like he's having a little bit of trouble."

Police said they found a knife between eight and 12 inches long near the scene of the shooting.

“I said, 'Guarantee he’ll get shot later on,' and here he got shot," Von Gries said.

Chief Warman said Hilling has been with the Glendale Police Department for four years, and was promoted from a part-time officer to a full-time officer in January.

Tuesday's incident was the first time in more than 20 years that a Glendale officer has fired his or her service revolver, Warman said.