Body cam released: Man shot, killed while running toward deputy with knife at Buck Creek

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has released body cam footage showing the moments leading up to a deputy-involved shooting Sunday evening at Buck Creek State Park.

Michael Spencer, who was shot and killed by a deputy, can be seen running toward police with a knife in his hand before the fatal shots were fired.

The officer who shot Spencer, 29, has been identified as Deputy Justin Nawman.

According to the statement, Nawman requested backup when he saw Spencer, who had blood on his hands and neck, holding a knife. Nawman and other deputies approached Spencer and attempted to defuse the situation.

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Spencer ran at Nawman while still holding the knife, according the statement. Nawman then shot Spencer.

Nawman has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.


The mother and uncle of a man killed in the officer-involved shooting at Buck Creek State Park said they want answers about the chain of events that ended the life of 29-year-old Michael Spencer.

“He didn’t deserve to die,” Norma Jones told News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy on Monday night.

She said her son, a father of five, had fallen on hard times and may have been trying to take his life Sunday.

“He needed so much help,” she said.

According to the preliminary investigation by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, a sheriff’s deputy fired the fatal shot near the visitor’s center of the park, 1976 Buck Creek Lane, about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Multiple deputies were dispatched to the park to assist with getting any guests clear of the area where Spencer may have been.

“Top of the hill, reservoir, white male, white T-shirt, knife in his hand, covered in blood,” an officer said over emergency dispatch radio traffic.

A short time later, law enforcement reported that shots had been fired.

“Shots fired! Shots fired! Get medics out here now,” law enforcement said over emergency dispatch radio. “We need EMS immediately. Subject’s been shot.”

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Jones said she doesn’t understand why they couldn’t aim for the kneecaps.

“He was bloody,” she said. “I mean the cops told me he’d cut himself... Why couldn’t they drop him to the knees and make the knife fall... I mean if it’s true he was coming at them like they told me.”

Monday night, Sheriff’s Maj. Chris Clark said the sheriff’s office confirmed Spencer died in the shooting. He also said the sheriff’s office will have a statement Tuesday morning.

Spencer’s uncle, Roger Spencer, said, “Whoever did this needs to be held accountable and this is a wrongful death.”

The final determination about the shooting will come from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, which is heading up the investigation.

We will update this developing report as we learn more. Stay with for breaking news.

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