CINCINNATI -- A police officer shot and killed a 22-year-old black man early Friday, the first such death since spring rioting after an officer shot an unarmed black man.
Since the riots, crime has surged and arrests have dropped as police admitted to holding back for fear of being accused of racism.
Police said the unidentified man, armed with a shotgun, fired first at officer Thomas Haas, who is white. The officer was not injured.
There were no immediate signs of unrest after the shooting.
The Rev. Damon Lynch III, a black clergyman who criticized police after a white officer shot Timothy Thomas on April 7, said the latest shooting appeared to have been justifiable.
"When you open up on an officer of the law, this is what happens. So it seems like what officer Haas did was justifiable," Lynch told WLW-AM. He is head of the Cincinnati Black United Front and a leader of a race-relations commission appointed by Mayor Charles Luken.
Police Chief Thomas Streicher said that, based on the number of shell casings recovered at the scene, "it appears there was very active gunfire."
"From everything we have seen and heard, we believe the officer's actions were reasonable and appropriate," Streicher said. "It was very, very intense. It was an extremely dangerous situation for the officer."
As of Thursday, a total of 73 shootings since the riots had left 85 people wounded or killed, compared with nine shootings and 11 victims for the same period last year.
According to police Lt. Col. Ronald Twitty, officers responded at 12:15 a.m. to a report of a man with a shotgun in the Millvale neighborhood. The first officer did not locate the man but Haas responded after another call was received.
The man was pronounced dead at University Hospital.
Streicher said Haas and the man were 20-30 feet apart during the shootout.
The man fired at least two rounds from a sawed-off, pump action, 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip, the chief said. Haas fired his 9 mm handgun and a shotgun at the suspect.
Haas, 33, will be placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
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