The Ohio police officer who fatally shot a 23-year-old black man outside of his home last week has been pictured for the first time, as a coroner ruled his death a homicide.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade is accused of shooting dead Casey Christopher Goodson Jr as he was walking into his Columbus home last Friday.
Meade, who was working with the US Marshal’s Southern Ohio Fugitive Task Force on an unrelated investigation at the time, had confronted Goodson after he allegedly spotted him driving by waving a gun.
Goodson was ordered to drop his weapon, and when he didn’t, the deputy shot him, US Marshal Peter Tobin said in a press conference. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.
The FBI on Tuesday announced it is now reviewing the fatal shooting along with the city police department, which was handed the case because the Sheriff’s Office does not oversee investigations of its own deputies.
The events leading up to the Goodson’s death remain unclear as both his family and law enforcement officials have given conflicting details.
Casey Christopher Goodson Jr’s death has been ruled a homicide, the Franklin County Coroner’s office announced Wednesday, five days after he was fatally shot by Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade (right)
Goodson Jr. had been working at The Gap, as well as training to be a truck driver, and was licensed to carry a weapon, his family have claimed
Relatives have claimed Goodson was holding a sandwich, not a gun when he was shot, and that he was killed in front of two toddlers and his grandmother while inside his home, not outside it, as authorities assert.
Visible evidence of the events is lacking because the Sheriff’s Office does not provide officers with body cameras, and the deputy’s SWAT vehicle did not have a dash-mounted camera.
A preliminary autopsy was conducted Tuesday revealing Goodson died from ‘multiple gunshot wounds in his torso,’ the Franklin County Coroner’s Office announced on Wednesday.
Dr Anahi Ortiz listed the cause of death as homicide, a medical determination used in cases where someone has died at someone else’s hand, but is not a legal finding and doesn’t imply criminal intent.
Police have only said that the deputy ‘shot’ Goodson without detailing how many shots were fired.
The final autopsy results are not expected for at least three months, Ortiz said.
The preliminary autopsy report released five days after Goodson’s death does not resolve the conflicting accounts, said Chandra Brown, an attorney representing Goodson’s family.
‘It is concerning that they’ve had the body for this long and they still cannot confirm the entrance or exit wounds of the gunshots,’ Brown said Wednesday.
‘It seems intentionally vague and we´re looking forward to getting the official autopsy report when that is released.’ The coroner’s office declined to comment.
Goodson´s relatives and law enforcement officials have given conflicting details of Goodson´s death.
‘My grandson just got shot in the back when he came in the house,’ Goodson´s grandmother told a dispatcher in a 911 call. ‘I don´t know if he´s OK.’
Goodson had just gone to the dentist, she told the dispatcher, and she didn´t know what had happened or who shot him.
‘They shot him in his back three times, [Casey] had food in his hands and was unlocking the door walking in. [H]e was in between the screen door and big door when the officer shot,’ his mother Tamala Payne said in a Facebook post.
The shooting took place on Friday afternoon in northeast Columbus after SWAT officers allegedly spotted Casey Goodson Jr ‘waving a gun’ and shot him outside his home on Estate Place (pictured). He later died in hospital
Goodson’s family and friends, pictured outside his home in northeast Columbus following the shooting, have disputed the police’s version of events and said he was shot in the back as he walked into his home after a visit to the dentist
Relatives and friends were pictured gathered outside his home on Estate Place, northeast Columbus, following the shooting on Friday
Injured by the gunfire, Goodson then fell into the house, where he lay in the kitchen,’ she said.
Wednesday’s autopsy report showed Goodson what shot in the torso, although it is unclear from where the bullets had entered.
Payne later shared a separate Facebook post of a photo of her son’s license to carry a weapon.
‘He doesn’t have any warrants, he’s never been in trouble in his life,’ Payne told ABC6.
The police-involved shooting comes amid a year marked by nationwide protests against police brutality, triggered by the in-custody death of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Goodson’s death sparked local demonstrations this week, with activists demanding officers release bodycam footage of the incident.
The Columbus Police Department – which was not involved in the incident nor the task force’s investigation – on
No other officers witnessed the shooting and no eyewitnesses have been identified, the police department added.
Columbus Police also confirmed Goodson was not a target of the task force operation.
US Attorney David M. DeVillers on Tuesday announced the incident is now under investigation by the Columbus Police Department’s Critical Incident Response Team as well as the FBI.
‘After being briefed about the circumstances surrounding the incident by CPD, I believe a federal investigation is warranted,’ DeVillers said in a press release.
‘I have contacted the FBI and have requested that they work in conjunction with CPD to investigate this case through our office.’
DeVillers said authorities will ‘take appropriate action if the evidence indicates any federal civil rights laws were violated.’
On Sunday, the Franklin County sheriff’s office publicly named the shooter as deputy sheriff Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran on permanent assignment to the US Marshal task-force.
Pete Tobin, US Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said at a press conference on Sunday that Goodson was seen ‘waving a gun’ and was followed by officers who later shot him three times. Tobin said the shooting was ‘justified’
He is not currently on duty and is awaiting interview by the Columbus Division of Police Critical Incident and Response Team (CIRT), which is investigating the incident.
The matter also will be presented to a county grand jury for consideration.
Pete Tobin, the US Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said at a press conference that he believed the shooting was justified.
He said that the task force had completed its work and was wrapping up, when a man drove past.
‘He was seen driving down the street waving a gun,’ Tobin said.
‘That’s when the deputy, at some point after that, he confronted him. And it went badly.’
Tobin claimed that Goodson was out of his vehicle when Meade approached him to confront him about the gun and allegedly ordered him to drop the gun before shooting,
Goodson was taken to Ohio Health Riverside Methodist Hospital, where he later died.
The sheriff’s office, citing the US Marshal’s office, said the suspect’s weapon was recovered at the scene.
They did not say if Goodson had drawn or pointed the weapon at the officers at the time, or if he happened to be holding one when he was shot.
Goodson’s sister tweeted that he ‘did nothing wrong’ and was ‘another innocent black man gunned down by the police’
Goodson Jr’s family posted photos online of his license to legally carry a weapon
Sean Walton, the family’s legal representative, said he had concerns over the transparency of the investigation after Tobin declared the shooting ‘justified’ at the Sunday press conference, prior to an independent investigation.
‘No investigation has been conducted, to our knowledge,’ he told The Columbus Dispatch.
‘At that point they had not even began their investigation. So at the beginning of an investigation to say it’s justified.
‘Well tell us why it’s justified because at that point Casey was a law-abiding citizen entering his home after leaving an appointment with his dentist while carrying food.’
Goodson, pictured here in 2008 aged 11-years-old, ‘loved his family’ and ‘was never in trouble’, according to family friend Heather Johnson
Goodson’s sister Kaylee Harper posted photos on Facebook of her late brother with his family and friends
Last year Goodson had trained to become a truck driver and posted photos online
About 40 people attended a Saturday night vigil for Goodson, hosted by the People’s Justice Project.
They are demanding that officials release body camera footage, police reports and conduct both an independent autopsy report and an independent prosecutor’s investigation, according to the People’s Justice Project’s Facebook page.
A spokesman for the Sheriff’s office claimed that the sheriff’s office does not have body cameras.
Heather Johnson, a family friend, told USA Today: ‘Casey was 23 years old, he never had any type of crimes. He was good, he worked at the Gap, he loved his family.’
She added: ‘He just enjoyed being a big brother and enjoyed being with his family. He loved them very much.’
Goodson’s sister Kaylee Harper posted on Facebook: ‘My brother literally walked across the yard, walked into the back fence to get to the side door, had his Subway (sandwich) and (COVID) mask in one hand keys in the other, unlocked and opened the door and stepped in the house before (police shot) him. If he was such a threat,’ she wrote, ‘why did you wait so long to shoot?!’
She added on Twitter: ‘He didn’t deserve this. Another innocent black man gunned down by the police. He was so young and had so much life left in him. I can’t take it. My brother really did nothing wrong. My heart literally heart right now. I love you Casey Goodson.’