- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) - A man being detained by police was fatally shot by officers when he reached into his waistband for a pistol, which was later determined to be a pellet gun, authorities said Thursday.

Three officers fired nine shots at 37-year-old Paul Gaston when he reached for a “very realistic-looking firearm” in the Cincinnati suburb of Cheviot shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Police Chief Eliot Isaac said.

Isaac said Gaston complied with initial police commands to get on his knees but reached for the weapon when officers told him to lie down.

Police on Thursday showed a witness’ cellphone video in which Gaston is seen from the back on his knees with his arms behind his head as three officers face him with their guns drawn. The video then shows Gaston appearing to reach for his waistband with one arm.

Police said Gaston’s gun was later determined to be an Airsoft pistol. Airsoft guns are replica guns that shoot plastic pellets.

Lt. Steve Saunders said earlier that police received reports of a man who appeared intoxicated waving a gun. When police later received reports of a truck found crashed into a utility pole, officers determined the driver fled and might be the armed man.

When Gaston was caught, he initially cooperated with police commands, but when he tried to pull his weapon from his waistband, the officers fired, according to Isaac.

“Based on what we have been able to determine, the officers responded appropriately according to their training,” Isaac said.

Other officers were at the scene but didn’t fire. The officers who shot at Gaston have been placed on leave while the investigation continues.

“We are here to stand in support of our officers making tough decisions to keep our city safe,” Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said.


This story has been corrected to show the suspect was 37, not 36, based on updated information from police.

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