Fatal Police Shooting a 'Fight for Survival'
Cincinnati, OH - A man who two Cincinnati police officers fatally shot early Tuesday in Walnut Hills had a record of assaulting police and resisting arrest, officials say. Donyale Rowe, 37, was pronounced dead at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. The incident started at 12:27 a.m. as a routine traffic stop in the area of Gilbert and Dixmont avenues, according to police. Officers pulled over a blue BMW sport utility vehicle after the driver changed lanes without signaling, Blackwell said. The vehicle's windows were also tinted too dark. Police removed a woman, who was drinking a beverage and smoking a cigarette, from the vehicle, video from the cruiser shows. She threw her drink aside when police got her out of the car and continued to smoke her cigarette as the officers pulled a second man out of the car. Rowe had been in the back seat of the car and ran from officers after they got him out, the cruiser video shows. He ran out of the camera's line of sight, but the ensuing struggle can be heard on the tape. "He's (expletive) got a gun!" one of the officers can be heard shouting. "Shoot him!" The struggle wound up on the ground, Blackwell said. At one point, the suspect got to his feet, pulled a pistol on two officers, and the officers fired a total of six shots. Two of those shots hit Rowe. Rowe's body was found away from the struggle and a gun was next to his body, Blackwell said. Police do not believe the recovered gun was ever fired. The officers, who both work for District 2, are Thomas Weigand, who has been with CPD since 2003, and Mark Bode, who has worked with CPD since 2000. Bode exceeded department standards in 2013, according to his latest performance review obtained by The Enquirer. Weigand received an overall rating of "meets standards" on his latest performance review. He was once involved in a vehicle pursuit that did not conform to department standards, the review states. Weigand also was involved in an injury to a prisoner and a stun-gun incident. In both of those instances he complied with department policies, according to his review. Weigand told investigators Rowe pointed a gun at his face and that it even touched his cheek, Blackwell said. "We believe at this point that the officers' actions were all in line with training and policy and we are glad that both of our officers are OK," Blackwell said Tuesday afternoon. "We want all of our officers to go home to their families at the end of their shift." Rowe "is very well-known to officers here at CPD," Blackwell said, citing incidents in 1996 and 1999, when he resisted arrest, along with a 2006 incident that Blackwell said was similar to Tuesday's, except that officers were able to get him into custody after using a Taser on him. Rowe served 40 months in prison after that 2006 incident. "It was a violent fight," Blackwell said of Tuesday's incident. "It was literally a fight for survival for both of those officers." Weigand and Bode had attempted to stun Rowe with a Taser, but Blackwell said it did not hurt. A scream can be heard on the video, but it is unclear who is screaming.