A police officer in Ohio is being hailed as a hero for showing restraint and talking down an alleged armed robber as he threatened to shoot himself.
Rashawn Harper, 20, a suspect in an armed robbery in Jackson Township, was arrested and booked for carrying a concealed weapon, aggravated menacing and several other charges.
The police officer, whose name has not been revealed, pacified Mr Harper by engaging him in conversation and not resorting to violence. He negotiated with him to surrender his gun with which he had also fired upon an eye witness.
The dramatic incident took place on Saturday afternoon when officers responded to a report of a robbery at a general store in Jackson Township, according to a statement from police.
One of the witnesses, a 51-year-old woman, followed the robber in her car as he drove away and relayed robber’s whereabouts to police.
At one point, Harper got to know about the woman following him and opened fire on her car with his handgun, striking the side of her car.
“He’s shooting at me! He’s got a gun!” the 51-year-old witness screamed, News 5 Cleveland reported.
Following the escalation, Harper abandoned his car and ran off to a golf course where he was found “sitting on a bench with a gun to his head,” said the police in statement.
The officer went on to negotiate with Harper instead of resorting to the use of force.
“We can help you, dude. We’re not going to hurt you. I promise you we are not going to hurt you. Put it down,“ said an officer.
The suspect told the officer that he has a mental disorder and he has stopped taking his medication. The officer tried to negotiate with him, promising to get him a therapist if he put down the gun.
“You toss that gun out of there. I put mine away, and I’ll come talk to you. I promise you. We can help you. It’s not the way,” the officer told Harper.
As the standoff continued, Harper told his age to the officer.
“Come on, bud, you have to talk to me. Dude, you’re 20. You’re still so young. Let’s go, dude, we don’t want to do this. Just put it (the gun) down, bud. We don’t want to do it. You don’t want to do it. You’re 20,” the officer continued.
Harper put down his gun and the officer handcuffed him asking him why he did the robbery. The 20-year-old reportedly showed remorse for his actions and said he had made “terrible decisions”.
The incident comes as law enforcement officers have come under heavy criticism for using force that has even led to killings in several high-profile cases.
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