Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 10:13 AM
By: Mark Gokavi - Staff Writer
— The Dayton police detective who fired his service weapon at a suspect who allegedly drove his vehicle at the officer returned to full duty on Monday, a police spokeswoman said.
Police said Det. Justin Saunders fired shots Jan. 20 during an investigation outside Lev’s Pawn Shop on Salem Avenue after the driver of a suspect vehicle “attempted to strike a detective with the vehicle,” according to a prepared statement from the department.
Joshua A. Craver and William Goodwin, both 18, were arrested at 3351 Salem Ave. by Riverside police. Both have been indicted on charges of aggravated robbery, burglary, theft of an elderly person and six counts of grand theft of firearms.
The criminal probe is being done by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Dayton police will do an internal investigation. The case pertaining to whether Saunders would face any criminal charges was planned to be presented to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office this week.
Saunders, who has been with the Dayton police department since 2008 other than a brief tenure in Springfield, had been on paid administrative leave.
Saunders has met or exceeded all standards in all the yearly reviews provided by city officials, according to personnel records obtained by this news organization.
In the detective’s 2016 performance appraisal — the most recent available — Saunders gained highest marks for interpersonal skills, productivity, teamwork and judgment/initiative. Saunders also fired his weapon in a police-involved shooting in 2016.
A supervisor wrote that Saunders “takes an active role in becoming involved in a hands-on fashion when it comes to apprehending suspects and persons of interest.”
Saunders has had six written commendation or letters of appreciation from 2008 until 2016, according to personnel records obtained by this news organization.
They included commendations for arresting two burglars, an arrest of a multi-county vehicle pursuit, the apprehension of three juvenile robbery suspects and his response to a sex offense call.
He had letters of appreciation for his work during a standoff that ended with the death of a man during a standoff and from the United States Secret Service for Saunders’ professionalism during a 2012 visit by then-First Lady Michelle Obama.
On Monday, Dayton police released dash cam video showing the moments just after Saunders fired his weapon. The video shows police and deputies arresting multiple people.
Two Dayton detectives who had been in the area working on an unrelated issue responded to the pawn shop after Riverside police requested them at 10:47 p.m. “due to stolen property from previous offenses being pawned at that location,” Dayton police said.
Dayton police Maj. Eric Henderson has said there were reports that a vehicle was spotted there that may have been involved in an aggravated burglary in Riverside, and that the suspects may have been trying to pawn stolen weapons stolen from that incident.