After chasing a murder suspect through several Ohio counties into the desolation of rural Kentucky, rookie police officer Jessie Kidder faced the most critical decision of his young career.
“Shoot me! Shoot me!” cried 27-year old Michael Wilcox, who had allegedly just murdered his fiancee and best friend.
A body camera caught the whole exchange as Wilcox charged toward Kidder in a suicidal fit.
Kidder, gun drawn, exercised incredible restraint, refusing to fire his weapon even after one of Wilcox’s rushes caused him to lose balance and fall down.
Still, the 27-year old New Richmond Police Officer, remained in control of the situation, bringing Wilcox to the ground – without any force – as backup followed swiftly behind him.
The April 16th events, have catapulted Kidder into the national headlines touting his heroic behavior.
If only more cops were like him.
Kidder said he kept his eyes on the suspects hands, even refusing to fire after Wilcox reached into his pockets.
“Law enforcement officers all across the nation deal with split-second decisions that mean life or death,” Kidder later told WLWT-TV, the NBC station in Cincinnati. “I wanted to be absolutely sure before I used deadly force.”
Interestingly enough, the body camera Kidder donned that fateful evening was not issued by his department, but rather a concerned relative.
New Richmond Police Chief Randy now hopes to receive funding to buy additional cameras for the entire police force, not failing to add that Kidder would have been justified in killing Wilcox.
“For him to make the judgement call that he did shows great restraint and maturity.” Harvey said in an interview with WLWT “The video footage, it eliminated all doubt that this officer would have been justified if, in fact, it came to a shooting.”
Although there is something oddly tragic about the fact that a police officer not shooting an unarmed citizen would make national headlines, it does bring about an important conversation on how the use of body cameras can protect the security of both the officer and citizen.
Wilcox is being charged with the murders of Courtney Fowlder, 25 and Zach Gilkinson. According to court records cited by WLWT, he claims to have been high on “everything” and that his music told him to kill.
He is being held in Brown County, Ohio Jail on $2 million bail.