Family of Black man shot by Ohio officer casts doubt on claims that he was waving gun, says he was carrying sandwiches
Casey Goodson JR, 23, was shot from behind standing in the doorway of his Columbus, Ohio home on Friday by Jason Meade, a sheriff’s SWAT deputy who claims Goodson was brandishing a gun
Casey Goodson Jr. was licensed to have a concealed weapon in Ohio, where there are no laws against the open carrying of firearms
His family however, has still expressed doubts he was brandishing the weapon before his confrontation with law enforcement on Friday
Goodson, an Ohio concealed carry permit holder, was legally armed at the time of the shooting, Columbus police said
Goodson was not alleged to have committed any crimes, has no criminal background and was not the target of any investigation
No other cops witnessed the shooting, no civilian witnesses have been identified and officer Meade was not wearing a body camera at the time of the incident, police said
The victim’s family is demanding “that the authorities provide the family with answers for Casey’s death and that the officer involved be held accountable”
The probe into the fatal shooting had been turned over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal investigations
Conflicting narratives have emerged in the officer-involved shooting death of a Black man, who authorities said waved a handgun at police before he was killed outside his grandmother’s home last week.
Casey Goodson Jr. was licensed to have a concealed weapon in Ohio — where there are no laws against the open carrying of firearms — but his family has still expressed doubts he was brandishing the weapon before his confrontation with law enforcement on Friday.
“It doesn’t make sense,” their attorney, Sean Walton, told NBC News on Monday. “Who drives down the street waving a gun out of the window? This isn’t a music video. This is real life.”
According to family members, Goodson is the eldest of 10 children and does not have a criminal record. He was returning from a dentist appointment and carrying three Subway sandwiches when he was gunned down with his grandmother and two toddlers nearby.
Coming from his dentist’s appointment, he’d just parked his car in front of the Columbus residence and made his way through the side entrance when he was shot three times in the back by Jason Meade, a Franklin County sheriff’s SWAT deputy assigned to the U.S. marshal’s office fugitive task force.
The 23-year-old had put his keys into his door before he was shot and fell into the kitchen, where his 5-year-old brother and his 72-year-old grandmother saw him lying on the ground with a Subway sandwich, family attorney Sean Walton told CNN.
According to a statement from authorities, the officer “reported witnessing a man with a gun” amid a search for another person.
“The deputy was investigating the situation and there are reports of a verbal exchange. The deputy fired at Mr. Casey Goodson, resulting in his death,” it reads.
“A gun was recovered from Mr. Goodson. Mr. Goodson was not the person being sought by the U.S. Marshals task force.”
Authorities said no other officers witnessed the deadly incident and that, so far, no civilian witnesses have been identified.
The Columbus Division of Police, which was not involved in the shooting, is investigating the incident. On Monday afternoon however, authorities announced that the probe into the fatal shooting had been turned over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal investigations at the request of Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan.
About an hour later, BCI, the state agency charged with investigating police shootings, announced they would not be able to accept the case because officers waited three days to request their assistance.
“BCI has an existing MOU (memorandum of understanding) with CPD, as they know that BCI is their first call when an incident occurs. BCI is the first call because we cannot be the subject matter experts unless we’re on scene from the beginning to document the evidence of what happened from the start,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement to CNN.
“Three days later after the crime scene has been dismantled and the witness(es) have all dispersed does not work.”
The move sparked backlash from Goodson’s family and concerned activists, all of them demanding answers in the deadly shooting.
“At this point, witness testimony and physical evidence raise serious concerns about why Casey was even confronted, let alone why he was shot dead while entering his own home,” Watson told CNN.
“Our demand is that the authorities provide the family with answers for Casey’s death and that the officer involved be held accountable. The family and the community demand swift justice for Casey Goodson.”
Columbus police continue to investigate the officer-involved shooting and an autopsy is expected be performed by the Franklin County Coroner, police said.
Meade, a 17-year veteran of the force, was not wearing a body camera at the time of the incident, Columbus police said. Deputies in the county are not required to wear the equipment.
US Marshal Peter Tobin in a press conference had claimed that Casey Goodson Jr. was ordered to drop his weapon, and when he didn’t, Dep. Meade shot him.
However, in the absence of clear law enforcement corroboration, the only other prescient anecdotal account comes from the family members inside the kitchen at the time.
So far, the events leading up to the Goodson’s death remain unclear as both his family and law enforcement officials have given conflicting details.
The FBI on Tuesday announced it is now reviewing the fatal shooting along with the city police department, which was handed the case because the Sheriff’s Office does not oversee investigations of its own deputies.
Relatives have claimed Goodson was holding a sandwich, not a gun when he was shot, and that he was killed in front of two toddlers and his grandmother while inside his home, not outside it, as authorities assert.
Visible evidence of the event is lacking because the Sheriff’s Office does not provide officers with body cameras, and the deputy’s SWAT vehicle did not have a dash-mounted camera.
A preliminary autopsy was conducted Tuesday revealing Goodson died from ‘multiple gunshot wounds in his torso,’ the Franklin County Coroner’s Office announced on Wednesday.
Dr. Anahi Ortiz listed the cause of death as homicide, a medical determination used in cases where someone has died at someone else’s hand, but is not a legal finding and doesn’t imply criminal intent.