COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The mother of a Black man shot by an Ohio sheriff’s deputy demanded answers Wednesday to her son’s death, saying he’d done nothing wrong and was returning from the dentist with sandwiches for his family when he was killed.
Tamala Payne said she wants the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy involved be jailed and said she’ll never be able to hold her son again, except “at his damn funeral.”
“I want answers. I deserve answers. I demand answers at this point,” Payne told The Associated Press.
Relatives have said that Casey Goodson, 23, was killed in the doorway of his grandmother’s house in Columbus as he walked through the front door.
Preliminary autopsy results showed Goodson died from multiple gunshot wounds in his torso, the Franklin County coroner said Wednesday. Final results aren’t expected for at least three months.
Franklin County Coroner 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.
Two callers to 911 reported hearing multiple gunshots that day, according to copies of those calls released Wednesday afternoon.
“Four shots fired from what sounded like an automatic weapon,” one caller said.
The deputy who shot Goodson was Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. He had been assigned to a U.S. Marshals Office fugitive task force that had just finished an unsuccessful search for a fugitive Friday afternoon.
U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin said that on the day of the shooting, Meade confronted Goodson outside his home after Goodson, who was not the subject of the fugitive search, drove by and waved a gun at Meade.
One witness heard Meade command Goodson to drop his gun, and when he didn’t, the deputy shot him, Tobin said. Goodson was taken to a hospital where he died.
Goodson had a concealed weapon permit and had hoped to become a firearms instructor, his mother and her attorney, Sean Walton, said Wednesday.
Police have said that a gun was recovered from the scene but have not provided further details.
Payne said Goodson had gone to the dentist that morning, and then returned with sandwiches for himself, his 5-year-old brother and his grandmother. He was shot after he unlocked and opened the front door, Payne said.
She learned of Goodson’s death when her younger son called her.
“My 5-year-old called me screaming, ‘Mommy, mommy, Casey just got shot. The police just shot Casey, he’s laying on the floor, mommy, he’s dead, please hurry up, come get me, come get me, I’m scared,’” Payne said.
Payne said she, like all mothers of Black men, spend their children’s lives dreading a day like Friday.
“You see these other mothers and your heart breaks,” she said. “But you never imagine that it’s going to be you.”
The preliminary autopsy report does not resolve conflicting accounts about Goodson’s death, said Chandra Brown, an attorney representing Goodson’s family along with Walton.
“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.
The state declined a request by Columbus police to review the shooting after Republican Attorney General Dave Yost said the police department waited three days to ask for the state to take the case and after the crime scene had been dismantled. The case was initially given to city police because the sheriff’s office does not oversee investigations of its own deputies in fatal shootings.
No video of the shooting has emerged. The sheriff’s office does not provide officers with body cameras, and the deputy’s SWAT vehicle did not have a dash-mounted camera.
The Sheriff’s Office and a police union have declined to comment on behalf of Meade.
Meade is a former Marine who received small arms training before joining the sheriff’s office, and has had a generally good performance, according to his personnel file.
Two missteps stand out: In March 2019, he was reprimanded for misusing a stun gun on a suspect and failing to notify his supervisor of his use of force. And in September 2007, the sheriff’s office prohibited Meade from having contact with inmates but did not disclose what conduct prompted it.
Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.