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Video released, officers cleared in Colerain Township Kroger shooting

A ceiling mounted camera catches a man jumping over a turnstile inside a store. The back of a flatscreen TV is in the foreground.
Kroger/Colerain Police/Hamilton County Prosecutor
Colerain Police say after Joseph Van Niman realized he couldn't escape through the Kroger's front doors, he jumped a turnstile and attempted to go deeper inside the store.

The police officers involved in a shootout with a suspect in a Colerain Township Kroger will not face charges. Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers says the officers reasonably believed deadly force was necessary when Joseph Van Niman pulled a gun May 29.

Colerain Police Chief Ed Cordie says officers were right not to hesitate as Van Niman took cover inside the store.

“At no time when a round is being discharged should we ever back down,” Cordie says. “We’re asked to be guardians, we’re asked to be warriors. There’s days we should be protectors. There’s days that we have to stop a threat. That’s absolutely what they should have done, and absolutely what they did do. In a quick manner, too.”

Video from body cameras and store security cameras shows an officer trying to stop Van Niman as he was about to enter the store.

Powers says the stop was part of a drug investigation.

“They were stopping just to ask his information, and that was basically it,” she says. “So, a simple request to stop and provide information turned into this situation.”

The video shows Van Niman pull a gun from his waistband and point it at an officer, who pulled his own weapon. The two exchange gunfire as Van Niman runs into the store.

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He then interacts with a plain-clothes officer who came into the store from another entrance. Van Niman tries to run deeper into the store and is hit by gunfire, according to police.

“You can just only imagine what this may have turned into, and we’re very fortunate with the end result we have today,” Powers says.

Powers says Van Niman was hit once, and a customer was wounded by a ricochet or shrapnel. Van Niman faces 12 counts, including attempted murder and felonious assault.

The three officers have been cleared by the prosecutor's office but are still on administrative leave. Van Niman has been in custody at a hospital.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.