CLEVELAND — An Ohio police officer who killed an unarmed driver after a high-speed chase shot the man less than five seconds after getting out of his cruiser.
Strongsville Officer Jason Miller shot 37-year-old Roy Evans Jr. about 4.7 seconds after exiting his cruiser, according to an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation summary released to the Associated Press through an open records request.
A grand jury Tuesday declined to indict Miller over the shooting.
The report provided more details about the March 7 shooting. The chase began just before 2:30 a.m. on Interstate 71, about 20 miles south of Cleveland, reaching speeds exceeding 100 mph.
It ended about 14 minutes later when the van’s tires were punctured by spike stripes laid across the highway.
The video shows the van backing up as Miller jumps out of his cruiser. As Miller approaches Evans’ van, the van lurches forward several feet but is blocked by a police cruiser.
Miller told investigators he was afraid Evans was going to “back up and pin” him with his van, but the video shows Miller was standing to the side of the vehicle and not in its path.
Miller then opens the van’s door, yelling “put your hands up!” and shoots Evans in less than a second, the video and report show. Miller told investigators he shot Evans when he saw Evans’ right hand drop out of view.
“I thought for sure he was going for a gun,” Miller said. “The thought process was so fast to try and get to the draw before he did.”
Officers later discovered Evans’ hand was reaching toward rolls of carpet stuffed between the driver’s and passenger’s seat.
Miller shot Evans again about 2.38 seconds after the first shot, the report said. Miller told investigators it was because Evans’ hand continued to drop further out of sight.
“It’s not like the movies, they don’t stop,” Miller said. “He didn’t stop suddenly doing what he was doing.”
Evans had been riding with his girlfriend, Amanda Pauley, and her three children. They were not harmed.
Pauley told investigators she pleaded with Evans to pull over, but he wouldn’t listen, the report said.
She said Evans, who had a long criminal history with multiple felony convictions and most recently was sentenced to two years in prison in 2014 for felonious assault, feared going back to prison.
Evans was out on parole and was driving without a license because he needed to get to and from work, Pauley said. He was coming back from a carpet job the night he was killed.
Miller said this was the fourth on-duty shooting he was involved in. Strongsville Police declined to comment on the report, and Miller did not respond to multiple emails seeking comment. The criminal investigation into Miller is now closed, though he still could face discipline from Strongsville police.
Evans had a history of mental health issues and was diagnosed with an unspecified mental illness redacted from the report. An autopsy showed Evans tested positive for marijuana.