Pike County Sheriff's Deputies Shoot And Kill Man After Vehicle Chase
A Southern Ohio community is reeling after Pike County sheriff's deputies opened fire and killed a man over the weekend.
It happened late Saturday night in a rural area near Latham after law enforcement officers attempted to pull the driver over for speeding.
Neighbors described a hail of gunfire on the road where Robert Rooker was shot and killed by deputies.
"It was horrifying,” said Rooker’s friend Lisa Malone. “There was no reason to shoot somebody that many times especially that man who wasn't any bigger than me."
"It is a shame,” said Toby Humphrey who's been close friends with Rooker for years. “He was scared cause he had no driver's license and it is wrong."
Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk said deputies were attempting to pull Rooker over for speeding when he failed to stop.
Law enforcement chased him for miles before everything came to an end on Fields Hollow Road.
"This individual ended up ramming and attempting to ram two of the sheriff's cruisers,” said Junk. “He tried to do it again. They ended up having to discharge their weapons to protect their lives."
Rooker's friends who heard and witnessed the shooting claim deputies used excessive force.
Two women who didn't want to be identified believe law enforcement overreacted.
"They didn't say hold, freeze or nothing, and they shot him dead in the truck, and pushed him in the creek,” one woman said.
The other added, "It is a dead-end road. They know it is a dead-end road. He was going home. Why didn't they just follow him? Why did they have to use brute force like that and kill an innocent man because he chose to run."
"They were definitely in fear of their lives and they did what they needed to do,” said Junk.
"These cops are killing off our babies,” said Malone. He [Rooker] just turned 26 years-old. He was a baby and it is not right. He wasn't a bad person and this was uncalled for.”
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is the lead agency in this case and detectives spent hours Sunday gathering evidence from the scene.
BCI will present its findings to the Pike County prosecutor who will then turn the evidence over to a grand jury for review.
The sheriff's office hasn't commented on the shooting, but the deputies are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in any officer involved shooting.