A West Virginia cop was fired after failing to kill a man who wanted to be killed.
Stephen Mader said he was only trying to deescalate the situation, but Weirton Police Chief Rob Alexander accused him of placing the lives of other officers in danger.
One of those other officers had to kill the man himself by firing a bullet into the back of his head.
That shooting was determined to be justified a month later, but by then, Mader had been fired by the Weirton Police Department for not killing Ronald D. “R.J.” Williams Jr., a 23-year-old man who was holding an unloaded gun.
After responding to a report of a domestic incident on May 6 in Weirton, W.Va., then-Weirton police officer Stephen Mader found himself confronting an armed man.
Immediately, the training he had undergone as a Marine to look at “the whole person” in deciding if someone was a terrorist, as well as his situational police academy training, kicked in and he did not shoot.
“I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mr. Mader recalled, noting the silver handgun was in the man’s right hand, hanging at his side and pointed at the ground.
Mr. Mader, who was standing behind Mr. Williams’ car parked on the street, said he then “began to use my calm voice.”
“I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ Then he starts flicking his wrist to get me to react to it.
“I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a suicide-by-cop” situation.
But just then, two other Weirton officers arrived on the scene, Mr. Williams walked toward them waving his gun — later found to be unloaded — between them and Mr. Mader, and one of them shot Mr. Williams’ in the back of the head just behind his right ear, killing him.
Mader, 25, tried to appeal the termination but was told by an attorney he had no chance of getting his job back because he was still a probationary employer in an “at will” state, meaning employers can fire employees at will.
So now he is planning on going back to school to obtain a commercial license to become a truck driver.