Tuscarawas County, Ohio - Newcomerstown Police Officer Bryan Eubanks reported on Tuesday, April 11, that he had been shot during a traffic stop. On Tuesday, April 18, he admitted to Police Chief Gary Holland that he made the whole story up after shooting himself, according to WTOV9.
After he was shot, the officer said that he was investigating a suspected mobile meth lab at Johnson Hill Rd & Post Boy Road. Eubanks said that he came under fire from suspects inside of a blacked-out Geo Tracker and that the suspects then fled in the vehicle.
A massive manhunt was sparked for the vehicle and known criminal, Chaz Gillian. It's not clear how Gillian got named as a suspect. After a manhunt for him, he was located and taken into custody, and then ruled out as a suspect.
As the investigation continued, there were more questions than answers. Nothing seemed to add up but officers tried to keep an open mind.
Investigators checked the license plate reader on the Eubanks's cruiser and they contacted each driver that drove past the cruiser at the time of the alleged traffic stop. According to witnesses, it was determined that the only vehicle at the site of the alleged stop was Officer Eubanks's cruiser.
More than 100 police officers from the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office, Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office, Newcomerstown Police Department, Uhrichsville Police Department, Ohio State University PD, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the FBI, ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the manhunt for a shooter that didn't exist.
On Tuesday, April 18, Officer Eubanks was called into his Chief's Office, and he told him that he made the whole thing up and that his injury was self-inflicted.
Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell said that Eubanks was suicidal.
Sheriff Campbell said, "The Officer confessed today that he had been struggling emotionally with some things since he recently worked on a very serious felony case – it happened to be a murder – and he stated he had been having some health issues since then."
Eubanks has since been fired.
The case will now move to the prosecutor's office and Eubanks will be charged, possibly with a felony for inducing panic or claiming a work-related injury.
It is difficult to understand what our officers go through each day on the job. It takes a heavy toll on the mind and soul. However, starting a massive manhunt for a shooter who didn't exist went too far, and criminal prosecution certainly seems appropriate.
Do you agree that Bryan Eubanks should be criminally charged? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.