An investigation into a shooting incident involving a Muskingum County Sheriff’s Detective and a suspect wanted for murder, has been ruled to be accidental.
It was on April 3, 2009 Detective K.C. Jones, Deputy Bob Van Dyne and Deputy Ed Swartz learned 29 year old Matthew Gullett, a Zanesville native wanted for murder in Cape Coral, Florida- was staying in room 121 of the Best Value Inn.
Before a SWAT team could arrive and remove innocent people from the area, Gullett exited his hotel room and got into a vehicle he had stolen. “Detective K.C. Jones, Deputy Bob Van Dyne and Deputy Ed Swartz surrounded the car and ordered Gullet to exit the car and to show his hands. Gullett was not immediately compliant. Detective Jones attempted to open the door and found it to be locked. Gullett was ordered to unlock the car. Again, he was not immediately compliant, but eventually did unlock the car.” Says Muskingum County Prosecutor, Mike Haddox.
It was not known at that time whether or not Gullett was armed. “Jones then removed Gullett from the car and was attempting to take him to the ground to effectuate Gullett’s arrest. While attempting to arrest and handcuff Gullett, detective Jones’ 40 Caliber Glock semi-automatic duty weapon accidentally discharged and Gullett was shot in his upper back, in the right shoulder area. Investigation concluded that the gun was in the direct contact with Gullett’s clothing at the time of the discharge.”
Right after the incident, all three officers were placed on paid administrative leave. Once it was determined the shot had been fired from Detective Jones’ firearm- the other two officers were back on duty.
The BCI conducted an extensive investigation that included witnesses, officers involved in the shooting as well as Matthew Gullett, all indicated the shooting was an accident. “BCI Special Agent Michael Trout concluded in his investigation that Gullett was accidentally shot during his arrest and extraction from his vehicle. After reviewing agent Trout’s investigation, I am in agreement that this was an accidental shooting and therefore, I do not find any criminal conduct occurred by Detective K.C. Jones, or any other officer of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office, in regard to the arrest of Matthew Gullett on April 3, 2009.”
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz blames an intense situation for the incident, but overall it was a competent officer who cares about his job doing great police work. “We have reviewed everything, we concur with everything Mr. Haddox has reported to you. This was a high tense situation, probably some improper actions as far as trying to do too much as to what really caused this.”
“He could have been sitting behind his desk working on paperwork that day, but when he heard that we had a suspected killer in Muskingum County he went down and got in his car and he was on the prowl too trying to take a killer off the street, it was great police work.”
No sanctions will be brought against Detective Jones, but written reprimands will be placed in his personal file.
Detective Jones could be back to work as soon as tomorrow after going through a training process with the firearm he will now be carrying on the job.