It turns out that Ohio police officer Bryan Eubanks, who said he was shot during a traffic stop last week, was really the victim of… himself.
The Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s office says the Newcomerstown police officer’s claim that individuals in a black Geo Tracker shot him on April 11 was really a lie he told to cover up the fact that he had actually shot himself in a failed suicide attempt.
“I did not even make it to the driver himself. He was sitting there, both hands on the wheel, facing forward. I just got to the door jamb of his vehicle before I was shot,” Eubanks, 37, told reporters right after he had been released from the hospital, his arm wrapped in gauze.
A 15-year veteran of the police force, Eubanks’ big lie caused approximately 100 police officers to mobilize in a search for suspects who didn’t even exist.
One local man was falsely implicated in the shooting; his photo plastered all over the news and social media to the point that his reputation has suffered greatly and he’s been receiving death threats on Facebook. Authorities had taken him into custody but later released him.
Officers’ investigations turned up witnesses who had passed his car at the time Eubanks said he was pursuing the suspects, but none of them reported seeing the Geo tracker at that time, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
“Some of the witnesses distinctly remember seeing Officer Eubanks standing on the bridge at River Street alone, because they thought it was odd that the officer was just standing there,” said Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell. “One witness said she had direct eye contact with the officer. None of the witnesses recalled a Geo Tracker or any other vehicle near the scene.”
Eubanks finally cracked after he was brought in for more questioning and admitted that he had lied.
He has since lost his job, and because he reported his shooting as work-related, Campbell said he could face charges.
Campbell offered the following as an excuse for why Eubanks wanted to kill himself: “Officer Eubanks was involved in the investigation of Newcomerstown’s most recent murder case, and we believe that was causing him a lot of undue stress, as well as health issues.’
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