Three police officers who had exchanged gunfire with a man in a Whitehall apartment in January have been cleared by a Franklin County grand jury.
The grand jury heard evidence in the case July 19 and on the same day opted not to return an indictment against any of the officers, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said in a press release July 20.
They are Whitehall police officers Gary Baker and Ron Casto and Reynoldsburg police officer Joseph Danzey.
The three officers are members of the Joint Eastside Tactical Response Team, a SWAT team comprising Reynoldsburg and Whitehall police officers.
The officers exchanged gunfire with and fatally shot 28-year-old Ledarren D. Mixon on Jan. 5 inside an apartment at 5300 Great Oak Way in Whitehall.
The SWAT team executed the search warrant in connection to an individual selling fentanyl-laced heroin at the apartment, Whitehall Deputy Chief Dan Kelso said.
Upon entering the apartment, officers encountered an armed individual later identified as Mixon, leading to a confrontation in which Mixon was fatally shot, Kelso said.
Five additional adults and two children were at the apartment, he said.
According to O’Brien, several officers went upstairs upon entering the apartment and encountered Mixon, who pointed a weapon at them, prompting the officers to fire.
The weapon Mixon had was loaded and had been reported stolen, O’Brien said.
Mixon was on parole at the time, having served an 8-year prison term, and was not lawfully permitted to possess a weapon.
Testimony before a grand jury is secret by law as well as deliberations and the vote of grand jurors in a particular case, but the law permits a prosecutor to announce the conclusion of an investigation and whether an indictment was filed, O’Brien said.
No indictment was filed in connection with the Jan. 5 shooting.