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FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) – The parents of a man shot by police during a mental health episode say things should have been handled very differently.
Susan and Paul Hubbard harbor no ill-will toward the officers. But they question the response Wednesday night in Fairfield Township that put in their son, 29-year-old Brian Hubbard, in the hospital in critical condition.
Officers responded to Camargo Park around 8 pm to help the Butler County Mobile Crisis Team after Susan called for Brian, who was experiencing an emotional disturbance.
At a certain point, according to bodycam footage released Friday, Brian exited the residence and approached officers Adam Green and Richard Coy holding a knife and a hammer.
The officers repeatedly told Brian to drop the weapons, but he continued to move toward him. They also warned him they would shoot him.
Officers did open fire, hitting Brian before the 29-year-old fled back into the residence. The officers pursued, subdued him and then performed first aid.
“If I had known he was gonna be shot,” Susan said Friday night, “I would have taken those bullets for him any day.”
Susan says she initially made the call because Brian was saying things that just didn’t make sense and that scared her. She says she’s called for crisis intervention at least five times in the past.
Paul describes the Crisis Team as a 24/7 recourse for mentally ill patients going through a mental health crisis. “An intervention person can come out and talk in a very calm and peaceful way to a mentally disabled person.”
Paul says the officers’ visible presence immediately outside Brian’s residence factored in the situation’s escalation. He wonders what might have happened if they’d parked out of sight around the corner.
“Instead he got an opportunity to look out the windows and see them,” Paul said. “They were outside for several minutes talking with us, asking us questions, just having normal conversations. They weren’t on any heightened alert.”
That gave Brian an opportunity to grab “whatever he could” in the residence. “Unfortunately he grabbed a kitchen knife, which was long, and a hammer.”
Paul says he tried to place himself between his son and the officers and that he joined in their pleas that he drop the weapons.
“I was between him and the officers for a few moments, I mean, seconds. And I said, ‘Don’t hurt my son, just use a taser, please!’ Because, I’e said this before, ‘Don’t hurt my son.’ And when they’ve come many times, I’ve said, ‘Whatever you do, when you come, don’t hurt my son. Do what you can, but let’s don’t hurt him.’ And so I have them space to tase him.”
The officers say they didn’t use their tasers because someone in an emotionally distraught state often doesn’t respond to them.
Their commends that Brian drop the weapons didn’t work either, and Paul says there’s a reason for that.
“Being an autistic or mentally ill person, many people do not respond to audible cues,” he said. “They freeze up. Their mind doesn’t work.”
Then the officers opened fire. Paul counted three shots. He says there may have been more.
“I quit hearing around three because I just started going into shock.”
As Brian fights for his life in the hospital, Susan and Paul want what happened to be a lesson.
“There’s no hatred,” Paul said of the officers. “I support them, very much so. And I would like to see something good come out of the tragedy from my son.
Officers Green and Coy have been placed on administrative leave.
The Ohio Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation.
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