Two officers in Strongsville chase and deadly shooting should receive verbal counseling, review finds

Roy Evans, Jr. (Family photo)

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – Police officials have completed an internal review of the March high speed police chase and fatal shooting on Interstate 71, and concluded two of the officers involved should receive verbal counseling.

According to a Strongsville Police Department memorandum released to the FOX 8 I-Team after a public record’s request, two of the officers did not have their microphones turned on for part of the pursuit.

The three-page memorandum says all other actions are “policy compliant.”

A Medina County grand jury returned a no-bill indictment in August, meaning Officer Jason Miller will not face any criminal charges for the shooting of 37-year-old Roy Evans Jr., who was shot and killed. Police say Evans Jr. failed to stop during the chase and officers say he did not show his hands when ordered.

The attorney representing the Evans family, says the family is “beyond disappointed” that the officer involved will not face criminal or internal charges.

“Miller’s attempt to justify his deplorable conduct, in now shooting a second unarmed man in a vehicle, shows that his only interest is to insulate himself both criminally and civilly,” said Atty. Marcus Sidoti. “His version of the events and the reason he executed an unarmed man for driving without his lights on was, according to him, because he [Miller] couldn’t see Mr. Evan’s hand, although dispatch audio contradicts that position. The evidence shows that zero verbal commands were given before Miller executed this man in front of his children and girlfriend of 10 years. More interesting is that the City of Strongsville continues to put this pestilence back on the street with no interventions.”

According to his personnel file, Miller was involved in another shooting in 2011, when investigators said he shot a suspect who was in a vehicle in the Strongsville Walmart parking lot during a drug sting. The Strongsville Police Department determined he “feared for his life” and the use of force was justified.

Investigators said Evans, Jr. was driving a van that failed to pull over for a traffic stop on I-71 in Strongsville around 2:30 a.m. on March 7. He led police on a 16-mile, high-speed chase that ended in Medina.

Troopers used spike strips to slow the van, which spun out. Dash cam video showed police cruisers barricaded it. Evans can then be seen ramming forward into a police SUV, then stopping.

Dash cam video from Strongsville police cruisers reveals two officers ran up to the driver’s side door, and an officer can be heard firing at Evans within seconds of the door being opened.

Officers are then heard ordering Evans to show his hands three times. There was no body camera video to show what the officers saw, but state investigators said they did not find a weapon in the van.

There were three children in the van, and some of them can be seen on video watching what was happening from the back seat.

According to a summary provided by BCI to the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office, Miller told investigators the suspect had rammed cruisers several times during the chase and after it concluded.

BCI determined Miller fired the first shot about 4.7 seconds after exiting his cruiser.

In an interview with state investigators included in the BCI summary, Miller said when he approached the van, he saw the suspect with one hand on the steering wheel and the other maneuvering the gear selector. Miller said after he opened the vehicle’s door, Evans’ right hand “dropped towards the floor and went out of view.”

Miller said seeing the suspect’s children in the cars “was surreal.”

“I didn’t want to kill him and immediately, immediately I was overcome with fear that he was going to die and this little girl saw it happen. So the only thing I could do was try and save his life,” Miller told investigators.

The BCI summary states Evans had a history of mental health issues and had cannabinoids in his system at the time of his death.

Continuing coverage.