Columbus, OH – Federal authorities have joined the investigation into a fatal deputy-involved shooting that occurred as a U.S. Marshals Task Force was searching for a fugitive on Friday.
The incident occurred in the afternoon on Dec. 4 in the 3900-block of Estates Place near Karl and Ferris Roads in Franklin County, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
The task force, which was made up of U.S. Marshals and Franklin County sheriff’s deputies, had just finished an unsuccessful search of the area for a suspect when 23-year-old Casey Goodson drove by and pulled into his grandmother’s driveway, according to U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin.
Marshal Tobin told reporters at a press conference after the incident that Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade said Goodson waved a gun at him as he drove by, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
He said Deputy Meade followed Goodson and confronted him when he got out of his car and told him to drop his gun.
Columbus police said Deputy Meade “reported witnessing a man with a gun. The deputy was investigating the situation, and there are reports of a verbal exchange. The deputy fired at Mr. Casey Goodson, resulting in his death,” NPR reported.
At least one witness has confirmed they heard the SWAT deputy order Goodson to drop his weapon, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Marshal Tobin said Deputy Meade shot Goodson when he ignored commands to drop the gun.
Goodson’s family said the 23 year old who worked at The Gap had just returned home from a dentist appointment and brought lunch from Subway, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
He dropped the bag of sandwiches as he fell to the ground just outside the door to his grandmother’s house where he lived.
Goodson was transported to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital where he died, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Marshal Tobin said a handgun was recovered at the scene, but he did not say where it was recovered.
Goodson’s family said that he had a legally-owned firearm and a concealed-carry permit for it, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“Casey was licensed to carry a concealed weapon and Ohio does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms,” the family said in a statement released by their attorneys, according to NPR.
The family has claimed Goodson was holding a sandwich not a firearm.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio announced in a press release on Tuesday that they were joining the investigating into the deputy-involved shooting.
Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz ruled Goodson’s death a homicide on Wednesday, NPR reported.
“Based on findings from the autopsy and medical death investigation, manner of death is homicide,” the coroner’s office said in a press release.
The cause of death is only preliminary because toxicology and other medical records haven’t been received yet, NPR reported.
“However, based on the current findings, cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds to the torso,” the coroner’s statement read.
Ortiz’s office said it hasn’t been able to determine how many times or where the bullets entered Goodson but the dead man’s family has claimed he was shot in the back three times, NPR reported.
Deputy Meade, a 17-year veteran of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted, as is protocol for all deputy-involved shootings.
The deputy is a member of the department’s SWAT team and was assigned on to the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force on a permanent basis, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Attorneys for Deputy Meade released a statement on Thursday that said Goodson had pointed a gun at the deputy, CBS News reported.
“At no time did Deputy Meade mistake a sandwich for a gun,” attorneys for the Franklin County sheriff’s deputy said in a statement. “Mr. Goodson pointed his gun at Deputy Meade. There has been confirmation that our client gave verbal commands for Mr. Goodson to drop the gun.”
The Columbus Division of Police said it was investigating “whether or not the deputy was legally justified in shooting Goodson,” NPR reported.
Police said that when the investigation is concluded, “all evidence will be turned over to the Franklin County Prosecutor for presentation to a civilian grand jury.”
Federal authorities are investigating whether there were any civil rights violations in connection with the shooting, NPR reported.
There is no bodycam from the shooting because Franklin County sheriff’s deputies have not been issued body-worn cameras.
The family has given multiple conflicting accounts of what happened.
Goodson’s grandmother initially told authorities that she found her grandson lying in their open side door bleeding after she heard gunfire, CNN reported.
She later claimed that she and some toddlers had seen him get shot.
Audio recordings showed that the family member who called 911 claimed someone broke into the house and shot Goodson, NBC News reported.
The investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s office is ongoing, but numerous lawmakers have already declared it a racist action and politicized it.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) tweeted his support for the Goodson family.
Casey Goodson Jr. is yet another young Black man who should be alive today. Our hearts break for another family who has lost a son at the hands of the police.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) December 8, 2020
Columbus city leadership also labeled Goodson a victim of racism.
“Casey’s case is just another reminder that the work continues and that racism is everywhere and we have to do the hard work as a nation to root it out,” Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin said, according to CNN. “Racism is a part of this country, part of our cities and a part of just who we are. And we can’t allow the challenges and how ubiquitous it is to overwhelm us in terms of where we go from here.”