A former Marine turned West Virginia police officer was fired from the force for not killing a suicidal man.
Yes. You read that correctly.
According to the Washington Post, on May 6, officer Stephen Mader responded to a domestic violence call in Weirton, W.Va., in which he found himself confronting an armed man named Ronald Williams, Jr. Williams’ girlfriend placed the 911 call telling the operator he threatened to kill himself.
Mader said his training as a Marine to look at “the whole person” and decide if the person is a terrorist, as well as his training at the police academy kicked in and he chose not to shoot. “I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mader recalled.
Standing behind Williams’ parked car, Mader said he began to speak to him calmly and soon realized this was a suicide-by-cop situation. “I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me,’ and I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ ” Mader said.“I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it.”
Unfortunately, Mader’s bravery and savvy in a tense situation was for naught. Two officers then arrived at the scene and shot Williams dead. As it turns out, Williams’ gun–the one in which he had facing towards the ground–wasn’t loaded.
Speaking publicly about the case for the first time, Mader said he attempted to return to work May 17 after taking standard time off for officers involved in a shooting. Upon arriving, he was told to go see police chief Rob Alexander who in a meeting placed him on administrative leave for putting his fellow officer’s lives in danger. On June 7, Mader received a formal termination later, which stated by not shooting Mr. Williams he failed to “eliminate a threat.”
Mader, who served two tours in Afghanistan, has two sons both under the age of 5-yeas-old and is studying for a commercial truck driving license.