State Investigation of Fatal Police Shooting in Martins Ferry Nears Completion

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation into the shooting death of a Martins Ferry man by law enforcement agents is nearing completion, said Jill Del Greco, spokeswoman with the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

Kevin Nickle, 59, was fatally shot May 16 by police who were responding to an emergency call at 57558 Washington Blvd.

Del Greco said Tuesday the Belmont County prosecutor requested that the state’s Special Prosecutions Section review the case instead of his office. If that office determines a case should go forward, the special prosecutors will present the evidence to a Belmont County grand jury.

“If the grand jury issues an indictment, our attorneys will prosecute the case in Belmont County,” said Del Greco. “If the grand jury does not issue an indictment, the case will close.”

Belmont County Prosecutor Dan Fry also explained Tuesday why he made the request not review the case.

“We work hand-in-hand with all of our local law enforcement every day, including the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office and the Martins Ferry Police Department,” said Fry. “The request was made to ensure an impartial review of the case, and to avoid even the appearance of any impropriety.”

Nickle allegedly was chasing his family members with a knife around the home. When officers and deputies reached the home, they found a man outside who identified the suspect as his brother, Kevin Nickle. He said Nickle and his mother were still in the house. The man also told police officers and sheriff’s deputies that his mother was locked in a room inside.

Law enforcement personnel were able to get the mother out of the house through another exit. They noticed Nickle was still inside trying to start a fire, and that’s when they “breached” the house.

Fry said previously law enforcement ordered Nickle to drop a weapon he was holding. When he refused, one of the deputies or officers tried to use a stun gun on the man to subdue him. But the stun gun had no effect on the man. Law enforcement then made the decision to shoot the man.

Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas said previously a sheriff’s deputy and a Martins Ferry Police officer were involved in the shooting, and that Bridgeport Police also responded to the scene.

In May, Lucas and Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland said separate legal counsel was hired to represent the officers involved in the shooting.

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