JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A standoff with a 20-year-old armed robbery suspect ended peacefully after an officer from the Jackson Township Police Department negotiated with him to put down his gun, at one point saying to him, "You're too young, bud. You're too young."
Rashawn Harper, 20, of Tennessee, was arrested and booked into the Stark County Jail on the following charges:
- Aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony
- Felonious assault, a second-degree felony
- Carrying a concealed weapon, two counts, a fourth-degree felony
- Weapons under disability, two counts, a third-degree felony
- Aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor
- Receiving stolen property (one firearm was stolen), a fourth-degree felony
- Obstructing official business, a fifth-degree felony
- Discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises, a third-degree felony
On Saturday, at approximately 3 p.m., officers responded to a store on the 5000 block of Fulton Drive for a report of an armed robbery.
While responding, officers learned a witness to the robbery had been following Harper, who was driving a vehicle without visible license plates.
When Harper and the witness came to a stop at the intersection of Meadowview Drive and Everhard Road, Harper allegedly fired his handgun at the witness, striking the front corner panel of the witness's vehicle.
"He's shooting at me! He's got a gun!" said the 51-year-old woman, who relayed Harper's location to police dispatch.
Harper parked his vehicle in the 5400 block of Blackthorne Avenue NW, where a resident later told police that someone was seen running through the backyard towards an old golf course, officer said.
Officers located Harper in the 3600 block of Wackerly Drive, where he was sitting on a swing with a gun.
In body camera footage, one of the responding officers can be heard pleading with Harper to put the gun down.
“We can help you, dude. We’re not going to hurt you. I promise you we are not going to hurt you. Put it down," said an officer.
At one point in the video, the officer promised to get a therapist for Harper, who said he was off his medications.
“You toss that gun out of there. I put mine away, and I’ll come talk to you. I promise you. We can help you. It’s not the way," said the officer.
When Harper said his age, the officer continued to encourage him to put the gun down.
"Come on, bud, you have to talk to me. Dude, you’re 20. You’re still so young. Let’s go, dude, we don’t want to do this. Just put it [gun] down, bud. We don’t want to do it. You don’t want to do it. You’re 20," the officer said.
After minutes of negotiating, Harper put his gun down and the officer who negotiated with him walked up and handcuffed him, continuing the dialogue.
“What’s up, dude? Look at me. What’s going on?" the officer said.
“I made terrible decisions," Harper said.
"Why did you want to do this?" the officer asked.
“I didn’t want to do what I did," said Harper, who was taken into custody. He remains at the Stark County Jail.