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An Ohio officer says he didn't see a deputy shoot a Black man but he heard the shots ring out

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio police officer testified in a murder trial Wednesday that he heard gunshots but did not witness a sheriff's deputy shoot and kill a Black man, nor did he see the weapon the deputy said Casey Goodson Jr. had used to threaten him.

Jason Meade is charged with murder and reckless homicide in the December 2020 killing of 23-year-old Goodson in Columbus. Meade, who is white, told jurors in his testimony Tuesday that Goodson waved a gun and aimed it at him as they drove by one another. Meade testified that he then pursued Goodson in his unmarked vehicle to Goodson's grandmother's home where the man turned to face him with a gun in his hand.

Meade shot Goodson six times with an assault-style rifle, including five times in his back.

According to his family and prosecutors, Goodson was holding a sandwich bag in one hand and his keys in the other when he was fatally shot as he tried to enter the side door of his grandmother’s house.

Columbus police Officer Ryan Rosser testified Wednesday for the defense that he and Meade had been working together on a fugitive task force assignment involving multiple law enforcement agencies prior to the shooting. He said he heard the gunshots but didn’t see what happened. His body camera captured the scene afterward but not the shooting itself.

Rosser, who was driving in another vehicle, described his communication with Meade before the shooting.

“(Meade) had a scared, panicked look on his face and said: ‘We gotta go, he’s got a gun, he’s got a gun,’” Rosser testified. He said he did not see Goodson waving a gun in his car, but confirmed that Goodson ran from Meade and failed to respond to commands to drop his weapon and show his hands.

Rosser said he lost sight of Meade and Goodson before the shooting occurred.

Prosecutors said Goodson was wearing AirPods at the time of his death, suggesting he couldn't hear Meade's commands. Prosecutors also revealed that Goodson fell into his grandmother's home after he was shot and that his gun was found on her kitchen floor with the safety mechanism engaged.

Neither the prosecution nor Goodson’s family have ever disputed that Goodson could have been carrying a gun but note that he also had a license to carry a firearm. Goodson also had a holster around his waist that did not have a strap.

Meade retired from the Franklin County Sheriff's Department soon after the shooting.

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Samantha Hendrickson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues