There was a clear rapport between the police officer and the man he shot Monday night on a dark Ohio street.
Newly released footage from Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Shaw’s body camera shows him drawing his service weapon during a traffic stop and firing two shots at what he thought was an approaching, gun-wielding assailant. One round struck the man in the abdomen; the other buzzed past.
But the man was not an attacker. It was Andy Grimm, a photographer with the local newspaper, the New Carlisle News. Shaw realized his mistake as he ran toward Grimm, who was screaming on the ground.
The video captures few clear images of the encounter as Shaw maneuvered to put pressure on Grimm’s gunshot wound. The audio, however, remains crystal clear.
[The Washington Post’s police shooting database]
“Andy, I thought it was a friggin’ gun, dude,” Shaw says. “Stay strong with me. I love you, brother,” he pleads.
Through the commotion, Grimm explains he was in the area to photograph lightning storms sparking across the sky, and stopped to photograph the traffic stop.
“Ah, I’m missing the lightning for it, too,” Grimm says as lightning crashes overhead, utilizing an expletive to express his frustration.
“I need you to call my wife,” Grimm says repeatedly. “I thought you saw me wave, dude.”
It was unclear from the video how the men knew each other, though it is not uncommon for local journalists to become acquainted with first responders. Andy Grimm has been working at the paper for years, said his father Dale Grimm, who received a phone call from his son from the ambulance.
“He said he got out, parked under a light in plain view of the deputy, with a press pass around his neck,” Dale Grimm told The Washington Post. “He was setting up his camera, and he heard pops.” Dale Grimm and his son run the family-owned newspaper, located in New Carlisle, a town just outside Dayton, Ohio.
“We know the deputy. This is a small town of 5,000 people…. We know the deputies. We work with them on a daily basis. We have an excellent relationship with them,” the elder Grimm said.
Andy Grimm tells Shaw, “I don’t want you to lose your job for this” in between streams of expletives in the video.
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Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett did not respond to an email requesting comment. In a brief statement Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said Shaw has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Our hearts and prayers are with Mr. Grimm as he recovers and with Deputy Jake Shaw and we ask the community to keep both of them in your hearts and prayers as well,” the statement said.
The sheriff’s office referred all further questions to the state attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is looking into the shooting.
State investigators, however, have remained tight-lipped.
“We’re still investigating to determine what exactly occurred,” said Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.
Paramedics arrived about five minutes after the shooting, according to the video. Grimm tells Shaw and others his camera is his “livelihood” and asks for it to be secured on his way to the emergency room.
He also didn’t lose his sense of humor.
In the video, Shaw tells one first responder that he fired two shots at Grimm.
“Thank God you missed one,” Grimm replies.
This story, originally published on Sept. 5, has been updated.
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