Officials: Deputy fatally shoots teen who attacked him in Ohio courthouse

The Franklin County sheriff's office deputy, who was knocked to the ground, fired a single shot, killing 16-year-old Joseph Edward Haynes


Beth Burger and Jim Woods and John Futty
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Chaos unfolded Wednesday afternoon in a hallway outside a Franklin County courtroom, when a scuffle involving a teenage defendant, his family members and a deputy ended in fatal gunfire.

The Franklin County sheriff's office deputy, who was knocked to the ground, fired a single shot, killing 16-year-old Joseph Edward Haynes of the Hilltop.

Haynes was in court on two delinquency cases, both involving guns, Juvenile Court records show. During the hearing, Magistrate Larry Sanchez ordered him placed on electronic monitoring.

"At some point, as the hearing was concluding, there was an altercation involving the deputy and some of the family members," said Franklin County Chief Deputy Rick Minerd, who oversees investigations. "And what we have learned was the deputy was knocked to the ground as part of that altercation where he came under attack ... one shot was fired."

Minerd said the Franklin County sheriff's office would not immediately identify the deputy, but would do so at a later date.

It's unclear how many people were involved in the scuffle, which broke out at 12:40 p.m. Wednesday on the fifth floor of the Downtown county courthouse, which is set aside for Juvenile Court. The shooting took place around the corner from Courtroom 56, where the hearing was held, in a hallway that leads to a door where court officials and attorneys can get to the magistrates' offices.

There was one deputy assigned to the fifth floor at the time, Minerd said.

Haynes' attorney, Jennifer Brisco, said the fray occurred when the deputy threatened to arrest her client, who had become emotional during and after the hearing.

"Joseph was a little out of sorts because of how things went at the hearing," Brisco told The Dispatch. "The officer threatened to lock him up and a scuffle broke out. Joseph was resisting, and that's when there was a scuffle."

She said she backed away as "a bunch of people" tried to break up the struggle, then heard a gunshot.

Haynes was hit by the bullet in the abdomen and rushed to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:14 p.m. The deputy was taken to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Brisco didn't see the shooting or Haynes' family members intervening, she said, but did witness Haynes' mother fall into the deputy during the struggle.

"I think she kind of lost her balance," Brisco said. "I know she was trying to get to her son."

Geraldine Haynes, Haynes' grandmother, told The Dispatch that she was only a few feet away when the struggle broke out.

"They could have Tased him. He didn't have to shoot him," she said as a tear rolled down her face at her South Side home.

In her account of events, Geraldine Haynes said her grandson became upset when the deputy put his hands on Haynes' mother. Karen Haynes, 41, was pushed up against a wall, Geraldine Haynes said, which prompted Joseph Haynes to shout at the deputy to "leave his mom alone, leave his mom alone."

Joseph Haynes grabbed the deputy's shoulder, Geraldine Haynes said. The deputy "let go of Karen and slung Joey on the ground," she said.

At that point, she said, Joseph Haynes didn't move and his hands were above his head.

"All of a sudden he pulled his gun and shot him," Geraldine Haynes said of the deputy. "You could smell the gunpowder."

The family was taken into other rooms immediately after the shooting. They didn't learn until about 4 p.m. that Joseph Haynes was dead, Geraldine Haynes said.

A deputy handed her a card with the Franklin County coroner's office number scribbled on the back.

"There was no reason why that cop would have been terrified of Joey," she said. Joseph Haynes was a lanky 6-foot-tall teen.

But Keith Ferrell, executive vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, which represents Franklin County deputies, said that hands were reaching for the deputy's service weapon, Taser or both during the scuffle.

"We're responsive to people's actions. We don't choose to come to work and shoot people," Ferrell said. "It gives our people very little choice to protect themselves and the public.

"Unfortunately, he had to stop the threat," Ferrell said. "It was a significant struggle. And his injuries support that."

Ferrell was returning to the hospital Wednesday afternoon where the deputy was being treated and undergoing tests. Ferrell said the deputy's injuries were not career-ending, but he wouldn't give more details. He anticipated it will take him some time to recover.

In September 2016, Magistrate Sanchez placed Joseph Haynes on probation after finding him delinquent for carrying a concealed weapon. According to a complaint filed by Columbus police, Haynes was found to be carrying a .380-caliber pistol in "the right front pocket of shorts worn under his jeans" in April 2016.

He was still on probation when police charged him with delinquency counts of aggravated menacing for allegedly pointing a handgun at two people and threatening to shoot them on Nov. 14, 2016.

Wednesday's hearing was to address the most-recent charges and the status of Haynes' probation. Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said that one of the issues that upset Haynes during the hearing was the magistrate's decision that he had to continue to wear an electronic-monitoring device until his next court date.

Brisco declined to discuss details of the cases, citing client confidentiality.

"I think he's a good boy who got caught up in a bad situation," she said.

Franklin County Commissioner John O'Grady said he was saddened to hear about the shooting.

"Any time there's a deputy-involved shooting where we've got the public involved, obviously it's a terrible incident," he said. "Our hearts go out to the deputy, the family and anyone involved."

©2018 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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