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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A Columbus police officer who shot and killed a Far East Side man who had called 911 for help has been cleared by a grand jury.
Officer William Kaufman, a 17-year police veteran, drove to 7277 Brooke Blvd. on July 17 after a burglary report was called in by Destin Thomas, the resident.
When Kaufman arrived, he encountered Thomas, 21, outside the building. Police said Thomas was holding a gun.
After what court records described as a brief confrontation between the two, Kaufman shot Thomas twice, in the hip and chest. He died at the scene.
He would have turned 22 on Tuesday.
A Fairfield County grand jury considered the case on Friday and concluded that Kaufman's actions were within the law. The shooting took place in a part of Columbus that is in Fairfield County.
David J. O'Neal, 19, of Shaker Heights in northern Ohio, was indicted in September on charges of murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, all with firearm specifications.
O'Neal was arrested hours after the shooting. Columbus police say he was the man who broke into Thomas' apartment and thereby caused his death. His jury trial is scheduled to begin in Fairfield County on Feb. 19.
At the time, it was thought that a second man was involved in the burglary, but so far police have arrested only O'Neal.
Members of Thomas' family, who have expressed frustration with the investigation, said they weren't surprised by the grand jury's decision. Thomas' roommate and a cousin both said Thomas did not own a gun and he might have taken the weapon from a burglar.
"We will continue to pursue justice for Destin in every way with all parties involved," his cousin, Joe Glassco, said in an email. "We are curious on what's happening with the CPD investigation."
The Police Division is still conducting an internal review of Kaufman's actions, as well as those of a second officer, Billie Camp-Donovan. Hours after the burglary, while police were looking for O'Neal, Camp-Donovan fired at a cruiser that was stolen and then crashed by O'Neal.