CINCINNATI (AP) — A masked robbery suspect who leaped over a bank counter and was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer working a private security job had a gun in a plastic bag he pointed at the officer and later dropped, authorities said Thursday.
Cincinnati police Chief Eliot Isaac said the off-duty officer, working at a Fifth Third bank, pulled his service weapon when Terry Frost vaulted over the counter Wednesday afternoon. A masked and hooded Frost pointed his bag-covered hand at uniformed officer Kevin Hankerson, who pushed a teller out of the way and fired two shots at Frost, Isaac said.
Frost then fled out the front door to a nearby wooded area, where police found him dead, apparently from one of the shots fired by Hankerson inside the bank, Isaac said. The chief said that police recovered a .38-caliber pistol from the bag Frost dropped while fleeing the bank.
The preliminary investigation indicates the trigger of Frost’s pistol appeared to have been pulled but the gun didn’t go off and may have misfired, Isaac said.
“Officers are there to protect, and I think that’s precisely what this officer did,” Isaac said.
Isaac and Mayor John Cranley said they regret the loss of life. But Cranley, a Democrat, also stressed the importance of protecting the public.
“The officer acted very quickly in a very frightening situation,” Cranley said.
Frost, who was 20 years old, appeared to have no significant criminal record, the police chief said.
Isaac said Hankerson has been placed on administrative leave, according to police protocol, while the investigation continues.
Frost’s father, also named Terry Frost, said Thursday his son made a “bad choice” but added “they didn’t have to kill him.”