CPD: police-involved shooting 'above board'

Feb 24, 2014

Police describe the rifle Gregory Sanders carried as: "The Type Zhongzheng rifle, also known as the Chiang Kai-shek/Jiang Jieshi Rifle, Generalissimo Rifle, and Type 24."
Credit Provided

Cincinnati's Police Chief say officers responded appropriately Monday during an incident in which the suspect was fatally shot by police.

Chief Jeffrey Blackwell says officers went to the Walnut Hills home of Gregory Sanders after he called 911 saying he'd killed his mother.

"We are, at this point, pretty certain everything was above board; that every division policy was followed, says Blackwell. "The fact is that they were forced to use deadly force by Mr. Gregory Sanders who came out of the house with a rifle."

Police say four officers responded to the scene and three fired 20 shots when Sanders came at them with a raised rifle. Sanders was struck several times in the torso and once in the head. The rifle was later found to be not loaded.

Assistant Chief James Whalen was asked if Sanders intentionally forced officers to kill him in what is colloquially called "suicide by cop."

"It's a little speculative but it's certainly logically to consider," says Whalen. "Mr. Sanders, by all indications, was generally physically healthy. He was generally mentally healthy as best as we can tell. There' s no significant contact with him in the system. He had some criminal conduct but, quite frankly, it didn't amount to all that much over the course of his life. And so, he obviously decided to take these actions today. There was some evidence of recreational drug use in the house. Perhaps the coroner's report will indicate there was something else in his system that might've driven his actions today. Beyond that, I really can't speculate on what his motivations might have been."

Whalen says Sanders is believed to have been his gravely ill mother's caretaker. The mother was found stabbed inside the home. The Hamilton County Coroner is investigating both deaths.

After allegedly stabbing his mother, police say Sanders went to a neighbor's house and banged so forcefully he broke the glass in the door. That neighbor then dialed 911 and handed the phone to Sanders.

Hear the call here: