UPDATE: Man killed in officer-involved shooting missed competency hearing day before
Police and court records outline new information after a man lead police on a chase Thursday and was shot and killed.
Charleston Police say Rodney Toler, 39, lead Dunbar and then South Charleston Police officers on a pursuit Thursday afternoon. He crashed on Charleston's west side, and that is when police say he got out the car and started shooting at them.
Officers shot back, killing him.
Charleston Police tell WSAZ they recovered Toler's gun at the scene.
We now know that he had one warrant and one outstanding capias for his arrest. WSAZ obtained the court records. Toler had a burglary warrant for breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home Friday, brandishing a gun and searching the home.
He also had a capias for not showing up to a court hearing this week.
This is not the first tense encounter he has had with police within the last six months.
In November, Toler allegedly rammed a Charleston Police cruiser, ran from police, pointed a gun at them and himself and asked officers to shoot him. Officer deescalated the situation and took him into custody without anyone being injured.
Facing a felony wanton endangerment charge, his bond was set at 25,000 dollars. It was lowered one month later to 5,000 dollars public recognizance bond. Court records say Toler was not a flight-risk, had a minimal criminal history with no felony convictions, had a job and cares for his children. For those reasons, his bond was reduced in December.
On March 19, the state requested a competency evaluation to see if Toler was fit to stand trial. At this time, he was still out on bond and on home confinement. The competency hearing was set for Wednesday March 28, one day before the fatal shooting. A source within the courthouse confirms to WSAZ that Toler did not show up for the hearing, so a capias was issued for his arrest.
"The system failed him and his family and his kids and all of us, his friends," Shana Abdalla says, one of Toler's friends. She has known Toler for years, and their children play sports together.
She says Toler has been struggling with mental illness for years and that the events that lead to Toler's November arrest were a cry for help. She says she did not know about the incident until after Thursday's shooting or she would have personally reached out to him to talk.
She also says she knows it can be hard for anyone struggling with mental illness to speak up for themselves or ask for help.
"I don't know. In some ways, I think it's embarrassing for people. Sometimes it's embarrassing for me to have mental illness," she says. "I can try to work on my mental health a lot more and reach out to other people going through it."
She describes Toler as a loving father who did not get the help he needed to overcome his personal, mental battles.
Now, Toler's death is serving as a wake up call to her.
"If you have friends that you really care about and family, reach out to them, check on them, see how they're doing," she says.
Abdalla plans to hold an event to raise awareness about mental health. She suggests anyone in the Charleston area who wants to be involved reach out to her on Facebook.
Charleston Police say that a man has died following a police pursuit that started in Dunbar and ended in Charleston Thursday afternoon.
Rodney Toler, 39, was shot and killed by police officers near the 500 block of Hunt Avenue on Charleston's West Side
Charleston Police say that Dunbar Police attempted to conduct a regular traffic stop. Police say Toler sped off, going through South Charleston, at which point the South Charleston Police Department took over as lead in the chase.
That chase came to an end at Charleston Auto shop on Hunt Avenue. Investigators say Toler then fired "several" shots directly at SCPD officers, who returned fire, killing Toler.
No officers were injured.
Toler was arrested by Charleston Police on Nov. 17, 2017.
At the time he was accused of running his vehicle into a police cruiser at the intersection of Beech and Garvin avenues.
According to court documents, officers told Toler to drop his weapon several times but he refused. Police say Toler also said he wanted officers to shoot him and that he wanted to die. Toler put his own gun to his head several times during the incident, according to police.
At his arraignment for that incident in 2017, Toler pleaded with a magistrate for a low bond, saying ''I didn't do anything to hurt anyone else" and ''my head ain't right right now.''
Police have confirmed that a Thursday afternoon pursuit has ended and that all officers are safe.
It came to end near the 500 block of Hunt Avenue on Charleston's West Side.
WSAZ is told shots were fired during the chase and the suspect was stopped.
The pursuit started near the Dunbar Toll bridge after police identified the car they think might have been involved in a shots fired call from earlier in the week.
Emergency crews are responding to a pursuit that started Thursday afternoon in Dunbar.
It started after 4 p.m. Thursday in Dunbar and moved through South Charleston.
Dunbar Police, South Charleston Police and West Virginia State Police are involved in the chase.
No word on what started the pursuit.
Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for updates.