Fatal Shooting

Mansfield police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in a March 18 fatal shooting at this Straub Road apartment complex.

MANSFIELD -- The March 18 fatal shooting by Mansfield police of Kenneth Cherry was justified, according to Richland County Prosecutor Gary Bishop, who presented the case to a grand jury.

Cherry was shot by two Mansfield police officers -- Matt Davis and Thayne Telquiest -- after officers arrived at 650 W. Straub Road in response to a breaking-and-entering report at the apartment residence.

"Obviously, the incident was tragic," Mansfield police Chief Keith Porch said Wednesday. "It's tragic that somebody's life was lost. It's tragic that our officers were put in that position.

"I was updated through out the investigation and hearing from Prosecutor Bishop that the grand jury called the incident 'phenomenal,' highlights that our officers acted appropriately given the circumstances they were put into," the chief said.

Office Scott Kotterman was first to arrive to the scene. He and the two other officers saw Cherry was injuring himself with a blade from a pair of scissors.

"He started going after officers," Porch said.

Officers tried to subdue Cherry with tasers, but the devices didn't stop him. Police then shot and killed Cherry.

The officers were placed on administrative leave, but returned to work April 8.

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"That is the last option that we want," Porch said. "In my mind, this was textbook procedures our officers followed in this situation. Do we want the individual to be compliant and cooperative when officers give their command? Obviously, but that when that doesn't happen, use less-than-lethal  force. The first course of action is not jumping to deadly force. We want to progress with our actions."

The autopsy report shows Cherry had tramadol, fentanyl, methamphetamine and norfentanyl in his system.

"When I arrive at those scenes, first I want to make sure my officers are alright. My position there is to make sure we are doing everything correctly and that the investigation is being done correctly,"  Porch said.

"Anytime I get those calls, it's horrible that our officers are involved. Again, it's tragic that the incident has happened. Even when it's 1000-percent right as far as police action, it's still a horrible day. Because not one of these officers come into working wanting these things to happen. It's horrible," the chief said.

Porch said while the criminal investigation is complete, there is an administrative review to make sure officers followed department policy. The review will be completed by Capt. Doug Noblet, the chief said.

Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.