“Law enforcement officers all across the nation have to deal with split-second decisions that mean life or death. I wanted to be absolutely sure before I used deadly force,” said New Richmond, OH Police Officer Jesse Kidder in comments to WLWT-TV, after the news outlet released body camera video, seen above, showing Kidder refusing to kill charging double murder suspect Michael Wilcox last Thursday. Kidder had been told by dispatchers prior to the incident in the video that Wilcox might be armed with a gun and could be preparing to attempt to commit suicide by cop.
Rookie Officer Kidder, a veteran of the US Marine Corps who earned a Purple Heart while serving overseas in Iraq, was praised by New Richmond Police Chief Randy Harvey, who told WLWT-TV, “For him to make the judgment call that he did shows great restraint and maturity.”
The above video begins as Officer Kidder confronts Michael Wilcox, who had just led police on a multi-county chase after allegedly killing his own best friend and fiance. Though Wilcox did not pull a gun during the encounter, he had told police previously that he was armed and, as he approached, threatened to shoot Officer Kidder while appearing to clutch something in his hand in his jacket pocket.
“He jumped out and he sprinted towards me. I had my firearm already drawn on me, and I told him to put his hands up in the air and he was screaming as he was yelling, ‘Shoot me, shoot me,'” said Officer Kidder to WLWT-TV. “I was trying to open a dialogue with him. ‘I don’t want to shoot you, get on the ground,’ but he wasn’t having it. He kept repeating, ‘Shoot me.’ At one point, he said ‘Shoot me or I’ll shoot you.'”
Then, Officer Kidder described a particularly difficult moment in which he chose to exercise restraint, “[Wilcox] got towards my face right as I lost balance. I’m thinking, at this point, that if he goes in to attack me, that I’ll have to use deadly force to defend myself.” However, right at that moment, backup arrived, and the suspect collapsed to the ground in surrender.
New Richmond Police Chief Randy Harvey hopes that the incident will lead lawmakers to supply his officers with body cameras, as, during the above-seen incident, Officer Kidder had been voluntarily wearing a body camera that was given to him by a family member following the highly-publicized officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.