Man shot by police officer on Thanksgiving stabbed his sister and her husband, police say

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The knife, police say, Demetrius Baker refused to drop when he was a shot by Cincinnati officer Thursday.
The knife, police say, Demetrius Baker refused to drop when he was a shot by Cincinnati officer Thursday.

The man who was shot and hit with a Taser by Cincinnati police officers Thursday had stabbed his sister and her husband, police said.

Demetrius Baker, 43, was shot in the leg during the confrontation. He survived and is charged with two counts of felonious assault.

Executive Assistant Police Chief Teresa Theetge spoke to the press Friday about the shooting. She said she was thankful the stabbing victims survived.

Theetge said police were called the Lafeuille Circle apartment in Westwood after a juvenile called 911. It was the daughter of the victims.

”My uncle has a knife and he’s stabbing my parents. They need an ambulance,” she told the dispatcher. “He won’t let go of the knife. He’s trying to hurt them.”

Officer Mamiya Malone and Sgt. Donald Elsaesser were among the officers who responded to the apartment.

Body camera footage shows the door of the apartment was open when police arrived and Baker’s sister was standing in the doorway. Baker can be seen holding a 13-inch butcher knife further inside the apartment.

The officers give Baker several commands to drop the knife. Baker then quickly closed in on his sister. She moves out of the way and both officers fire their weapons — Malone her sidearm and Elsaesser his Taser.

Baker was struck in the leg and immediately laid down on the floor face down. Baker and his relatives were all taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Theetge said Baker’s sister and her husband have both been released. Baker’s sister suffered a wound to the arm and her husband was stabbed in the abdomen.

Baker has prior convictions, Theetge said, including assault on a police officer.

”There were several people in harm’s way,” Theetge said. “The training our officers receive is top-notch. Our officers are taught to stop the threat.”

The assistant chief said Baker had brought both the butcher knife and another knife to the residence and that the conflict stemmed from “an ongoing family dispute.” She declined to offer more details.

Theetge praised the victim’s daughter for keeping calm on the 911 call: “She did an amazing job.”

Malone joined the police in 2019. Elsaesser joined in 1995. Both officers are on administrative leave as the situation is reviewed and investigated.

Cincinnati’s homicide unit, internal investigation unit, the Citizen’s Complaint Authority and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office are all conducting investigations into what happened.

Gabe Davis is the director of the Citizen Complaint Authority, the independent city-funded body that reviews police use-of-force and police misconduct. He said his agency sent two investigators to the scene in the hours following the shooting, and they will be conducting a complete independent investigation.

Both of the officers had their weapons drawn as they approached the door.

Cincinnati’s police union president, Sgt. Dan Hils, explained that officers train to have a variety of weapons at hand when they approach a situation. He said it was likely the officers communicated with each other and picked different weapons intentionally.

While department officials did not specifically comment on whether they believed all the officer’s actions were justified due to the pending investigations, Hils said the officers did a “tremendous job.”

”These officers did exactly what they had to do,” Hils said.

The last time a Cincinnati officer shot someone was Aug. 11, 2020. In that case, Officer John Brown unintentionally fired his weapon while grappling with 37-year-old Andre Thomas who was trying to flee from police, officials said. Chief Eliot Isaac said that the case was "definitely not an appropriate use of force." Thomas survived the encounter. Brown was given an 8-hour suspension, officials said.

The last fatal police shooting in Cincinnati was in Sept. 2018. Omar Santa-Perez had killed three people and wounded two others at the Fifth Third Center when officers responded and fatally shot him in the lobby of the building.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Man shot by police officer on Thanksgiving stabbed his sister and her husband, police say

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