WOOSTER − Wayne County has reached a financial settlement with the family of an Apple Creek man who was fatally shot by a Sheriff's Office deputy in 2018, Terry Gilbert, the attorney for the family, confirmed on Friday.
No information is publicly available yet, said Gilbert, as the settlement terms of the federal lawsuit filed in 2020 have not been finalized.
"There was a settlement but the paperwork needs to go through," he said. "The judge is waiting on a dismissal."
Some details need to be decided, Gilbert said, like how the settlement funds will be disbursed.
The decision not to make the settlement public information is part of an agreement between the two parties. He said that information might become available in the next 30 days when the details are final.
The Wayne County Sheriff's Office did not respond to an email request for comment. The attorneys representing the county were not available Friday for comment.
Rodney Geiser of Apple Creek shot in 2018
Police confronted 60-year-old Rodney Geiser in Apple Creek on the morning of Dec. 16, 2018, after his son called police, The Daily Record reported in 2020. His father had threatened to hurt himself.
When police arrived, Geiser held a gun pointed at his head but did not point the gun at officers or civilians.
He walked around the village with the gun held to his head while officers ordered him to stop, but Geiser "paid no attention to and did not threaten any of these people," according to court documents.
Four cameras captured the shooting, according to the 2020 Daily Record story. Geiser walked slowly down the street with the gun under his chin making no threatening gestures toward deputies or nearby civilians.
That's when Sgt. Eric Peters, of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, fired one shot from 30 feet away while crouched behind a parked vehicle.
The bullet struck Geiser's forearm and entered his chest. He was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Family files wrongful death suit against sheriff's department
Geiser's estate filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2020 against the county, claiming he was wrongfully killed. The lawsuit contends the Sheriff's Office was aware of his "emotional problems" at the time of the shooting.
Several law enforcement officials are named in the suit, as is the county and Wayne County Board of Commissioners.
The family contends Geiser posed no immediate risk to anyone and should not have died.
One day after the shooting, Capt. Doug Hunter held a press conference, saying the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Sheriff's Office believed Peters acted appropriately.
“We at the Sheriff’s Office feel that our deputy did nothing wrong. In fact, we feel that he perhaps saved the lives of others by stopping this man, whose ultimate intentions were unknown,” Hunter said at the news conference in 2018. "… Our deputy did what we felt like he needed to do. It was unfortunate, but this man was given multiple opportunities to end this in a non-violent manner.”
Peters was cleared of any shooting-related charges in May 2019.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Wayne County settles 2020 lawsuit over Rodney Geiser fatal shooting