PRESS RELEASE, 8/23/2011

Hamilton County Prosecutor announces finding in Northside shooting

Officer’s use of force in Northside shooting is justified.

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced his findings in his review of the April 18, 2011 Northside shooting of David Paul (“Bones”) Hebert.  Deters concluded that the officers were justified in their actions and did not violate any criminal statutes.

On April 18, 2011 at approximately 3:00 a.m. Cincinnati Police were called to 4352 Virginia Avenue in Northside when the resident reported that he had been stabbed inside his apartment by Mr. Hebert with a sword.  Officer Brian Kneller (Badge No. 161), Officer Lawrence Johnson (Badge No. P919), Officer Nicolino Stavale (Badge No. PP885) and Sgt. Andrew Mitchell (Badge No. S87) searched the area after receiving a physical description of the assailant from the stabbing victim.   The police located Mr. Hebert and a woman with him sitting outside on the sidewalk near 4352 Virginia Avenue with a large leashed dog.   

Officer Johnson approached Mr. Herbert and asked if he had the knife used during the attack on Virginia Avenue.  Mr. Hebert denied possessing a knife.  When Officer Johnson asked him to stand, Mr. Heber did and reached into his front right pants pocket.  Officer Johnson numerous times ordered Mr. Hebert to stop reaching into his pants pocket but he continued to do so and pulled out a butterfly knife from his pocket and stepped toward the officer.

Officer Johnson retreated and was in the process of withdrawing his firearm, when Sgt. Mitchell fired two shots at Mr. Hebert in defense of Officer Johnson.  Mr. Hebert was struck in the chest and left arm and fell to the pavement.  As he fell, he threw his knife which struck the front window at 1833 Chase Avenue.  Paramedics responded immediately but Mr. Hebert died at the scene.

The Cincinnati Police and Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office responded to the scene and immediately began the established protocol for investigation of an officer involved shooting.  Officers of the Criminal Investigation Section (CIS) conducted the physical investigation of the scene while Homicide officers and Personal Crimes Unit officers canvassed the area for witnesses and witness statements.  The police officers involved in the shooting gave statements to the investigating officers which were consistent with each other and the physical evidence.  The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office was notified and responded to recover the body of Mr. Hebert. 

The Hamilton County Coroner ruled the cause of death to be pulmonary trauma due to two gunshot wounds to the chest and arm.  The Coroner also found that Mr. Hebert had a blood alcohol level of 0.330 which is more than 4 times the legal limit of 0.08.  Mr. Hebert was also under the influence of marihuana and psilocin (“mushrooms”) at the time of his death.

Prosecutor Deters commented, “After reviewing the thorough and complete investigation into this matter, I am convinced that the police acted appropriately.  Officers never want to shoot someone.  They were dealing with a high and profoundly intoxicated individual.  The officers were aware that this individual had already stabbed another citizen.  He approached the police officers and, in direct contravention of their orders, continued to reach into his pants pocket.  When he was only feet from the police, he removed a knife from his pocket.  It was then that the officer fired two shots, mortally wounding him.”