Chief: Officer made tough, but right call when shooting robbery suspect

SYLVANIA TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WTVG) - For Sylvania Township's Chief of Police, it was the right but difficult move to make.

"It's a tragedy that someone was killed, that an officer had to take that action and now has to live with that action," Chief Paul Long said of an officer-involved shooting. "You just have to process a lot of information quickly."

Sylvania Township police responded Wednesday night to the Stop and Go at Alexis and Whiteford on reports of a suspicious car. Shortly after, a man carrying a knife walked inside and started going through the cash register.

Surveillance footage shows the suspect eventually leave and confront an officer who orders the man to drop his knife. Chief Long said the suspect instead lunged at the officer who then fired three shots, one of which killed the suspect.

"Are you pleased with the way your officer handled that situation?," 13abc's Michael Bratton asked Long. "Yes, again the investigation is not complete, but from what I've seen so far, we are pleased, and we see no red flags," Long said.

When it comes to using lethal force, Chief Long says it's never an easy decision.

"No one knows how they would react," Long said. "It's unique for every officer. It's a very tough situation for the officer and for their family."

If a suspect presents an immediate and deadly threat the chief says officers are trained to react accordingly.

"Someone will say, 'Oh why didn't you shoot him in the leg?,'" Long said. "You can't do that ... you have to shoot to end the threat."

While it's never the first option, Long says officers will use deadly force to protect themselves and those around them.

"Unfortunately, sometimes instances like this happen and the suspects dictate what action we're forced to take," Long said.

At this point, the name of the officer who pulled the trigger is being withheld. We're told, however, that the officer has been with the department for about a year.

The last time an officer-involved shooting occurred in the township was in 2016.