UPDATE: Suspect Shot and Killed by Police; Radio Conversations Released

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 1/18/12 @ 6:45 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A suspect was shot dead by police, and now police radio conversations reveal firsthand what led up to the fatal shots being fired.

"Do you have him detained?" one dispatcher said.

"Negative, he's not following commands," an officer responded.

Police believe Tommy Ransbottom, 40, wanted to die. Even his family says police had no choice but to shoot him.

"Metro start medics. We've got shots fired," an officer said over the radio. "Suspect hit."

Less than 48 hours after the fatal shooting, the South Charleston Police has reviewed the case minute by minute.

The chief has praise for his officers and the split-second decisions that may have ultimately saved lives.

"We were given no choice, no choice," Police Chief Brad Rinehart said. "Those officers shot to save the lives of the other officers and protect the public."

Officers say on Monday night Ransbottom started a fight with family members in Cross Lanes. He fired seven shots in the air and then took off.

Police tracked him down in South Charleston where he got out of the car with a loaded handgun and pointed it at officers.

Ransbottom wanted officers to kill him, shouting what sounded like "shoot me" over the radio while he waived a pistol at police.

Four shots were fired by police, and Ransbottom died at the hospital.

"These guys used incredible restraint, incredible restraint during this situation," Rinehart said.

Even with Ransbottom surrounded by six cops, he didn't listen. But the police chief says, by all accounts, his officers did what was right.

"Some guys had lights right in their eyes; some guys had poor lighting," Rinehart said. "In that situation with a gentlemen with a gun you shoot, you shoot to take the person down."

The chief says this whole ordeal is a real wake-up call to the dangers the entire department faces every day.

The names of the two officers who pulled the trigger haven't been identified. The chief says they deserve some privacy in the wake of this tragedy.

Ransbottom's father told WSAZ.com his son was not taking his medication, and his family's attempts to help never got through.

UPDATE 1/17/12 @ 10 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The family of a man shot and killed by police say he was trying to get police to kill him.

Tommy Ransbottom Sr. says he's been worried for months his son would do something drastic.

"He was just so stressed out,” he said. “He just couldn't handle it any more."

He says his son was in a bad motorcycle accident when he was about 11 years old and seriously injured his head, and recently he was struggling taking care of his 16-year-old son who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

"I told my cousin down the road, I look for tom to end it all one of these days,” Tommy Sr. said. “The poor guy's never happy."

Police say 40-year-old Tommy Ransbottom II started a fight Monday night with family members in Cross Lanes, firing seven shots in the air.

Police tracked him down early Tuesday morning in a church parking lot in South Charleston, where he got out of the car with a loaded handgun.

Four shots were fired by police. Ransbottom died at the hospital.

The Kanawha Sheriff's Department says Ransbottom indicated to his sister in Missouri on the phone during the standoff that he was going to try to get police to shoot and kill him.

His father says the family's attempts to help his troubled son never got through.

"It didn't do us any good to say anything to him,” he said. “He would just say, ‘Dad, I love you, but I have to do what I have to do."

Two officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Ransbottom's son Nicholas says the officers were in the right and acted in self defense.

UPDATE 1/17/12 @ 6:30 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Early Tuesday morning, seven South Charleston police officers responded to a church parking lot where officers say Tommy Gene Ransbottom II pulled a gun at them.

"As a police officer this is not something you want to come out here and do. You don't want to be put in this situation," South Charleston Police Chief Rinehart said.

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting. Sheriff Rutherford says late Monday, Ransbottom began causing a ruckus -- at one point causing a fight with his family at an apartment complex West Washington Street in Cross Lanes where he lived.

Neighbor Doug Johnston heard the fight.

"All we heard was seven shots. It was like pow, pow, pow," Johnston said.

Police say after Ransbottom fired the shots he took off, ending up along Village Drive. South Charleston Police spotted his car and ordered him out.

"He was on the phone at various times with his mother. He was also on the phone with his sister. He indicated he was going to force the police officers to kill him," Rutherford said.

Rutherford believes Ransbottom exited his car three times, twice disguising his cell phone as a weapon. The third time he exited the car police determined he had an actual handgun. Two officers, to the side of Ransbottom, then fired four shots. Two shots hit him, killing him.

Ransbottom’s 16-year-old son, Nicholas, released a statement Tuesday saying "The cops were in the right and they did act in self defense." Nicholas also said his dad had a long history with depression.

"I've been a police officer for 39 years. I've seen a lot of situations over the years. In my opinion the officers involved in this showed immense restraint," Rutherford said.

The two South Charleston police officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. Neither of their names have been released.

A press conference is scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the South Charleston Police Department.

UPDATE 1/17/12 @ 1:50 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- South Charleston Police have released the name of the man who was shot and killed by police early Tuesday morning.

South Charleston Police tell WSAZ.com Tommy Gene Ransbottom II, 40, fired seven shots near the address of 5096 W. Washington Street in Cross Lanes about 12:30 a.m. He then took off.

A short time later, South Charleston Police caught up with him at a parking lot in the 900-block of Village Drive. That's where investigators say Ransbottom pulled out a pistol and pointed it at two police officers. The officers opened fired and shot Ransbottom. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

His 16-year-old son, Nicholas Ransbottom, tells WSAZ.com, "The cops were in the right and they did act in self defense." Nicholas also says his father had a long history of depression.

The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department is having a 3 p.m. news conference to release more information about the case.

The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave as standard protocol.

Investigators say the initial reports advised Ransbottom was intoxicated or high on drugs when he fired the shots early Tuesday morning. The final toxicology report has not been released.

UPDATE 1/17/12 @ 6 a.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The South Charleston Police Chief tells WSAZ.com a man who was shot by police early Tuesday morning has died from his injuries.

The man's name has not been released.

The incident happened about 1 a.m. at a parking lot in the 900-block of Village Drive.

Police say they received numerous calls about a person behaving erratically.

"Metro started receiving calls on this gentleman about 11 p.m. tonight (Monday). [He was having] suicidal thoughts that he wanted to be shot, suicide by a cop," South Charleston Police Chief Brad Rinehart said.

A Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputy and Metro 911 Dispatcher talked with the suspect on the phone before he arrived in South Charleston, according to Chief Rinehart.

Police began looking for the suspect and eventually tracked him down in a church parking lot on Village Drive in South Charleston. That is where the shooting took place.

"My officers came across him here on this parking lot. He disobeyed all of their commands and refused to cooperate with him," Chief Rinehart said. "They tried to talk to him. He got out apparently with a pistol in his hand and pointed it in their direction. At that point, they have every right to defend themselves."

The two officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office investigates the incident. The chief says this is standard procedure when there is a shooting where an officer is involved.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY 1/17/2012 @ 3:10 a.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A suspect is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, after being shot by two South Charleston police officers.

The incident happened about 1 a.m. at a parking lot in the 900 block of Village Drive.

Police say they received numerous calls about the suspect behaving erratically, and when they pulled him over, he pulled a gun and pointed it at them.

Two officers fired, striking the suspect.

South Charleston Police Chief B. L. Rinehart tells WSAZ.com the suspect suffered life-threatening injuries.

He was rushed to the hospital.

There is no word on his condition or name.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

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