Authorities Say Casey Goodson Jr. Was 'Waving A Gun,' But He Had License To Carry

Dec 7, 2020

WOSU has confirmed that 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr., who law enforcement say was "waving a gun" at officers before his fatal encounter with a Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy, had a concealed carry license.

Goodson was shot by Deputy Jason Meade, who was assigned to the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, last Friday. Officers were finishing an unsuccessful search for a suspect Friday when deputies encountered Goodson – who was neither the person they were looking for nor the subject of any investigation.

Peter Tobin, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said that deputies saw Goodson "driving down the street waving a gun." A later release from the Columbus Division Police says that Meade saw Goodson with a gun, but did not say he was waving it.

The Sheriff's Office have not yet responded to WOSU's request for clarification. Columbus Police spokesman Sgt. James Fuqua said in an email that Tobin's account was "entirely possible" but the department did not "want to get ahead of the investigation until any information released is cleared through the investigators."

On Monday afternoon, both the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and Columbus Police agreed to have the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the state's official crime lab, take over the case. The move followed a June executive order from Mayor Andrew Ginther that required all fatal police-use-of-force cases and cases of death in police custody to be referred to the BCI.

"Having BCI conduct the investigation into the shooting death of Casey Goodson assures another layer of independence," Ginther wrote on Twitter. "As BCI investigates, I call on members of the community to be patient and avoid misinformation."

However only a few hours later, BCI declined to take the case

"We recieved a referral to take a three-day-old office-involved shooting case," says Steve Irwin with the Attorney General's Office. "Not knowing all the reasons as to why so much time has passed before the case was referred to BCI, we cannot accept this case."

According to documentation provided by his family's lawyers, Walton + Brown, Goodson's concealed carry license was up-to-date. The Ohio Bar Association says any legal weapon owner can openly carry weapons in most places in Ohio, even without a concealed weapon license.

The Sheriff's Office said that Meade confronted Goodson, but did not provide details about the encounter preceding the shooting. No witnesses have come forward who overheard their conversation, no other officers were present when the shooting occured, and Meade – like other Sheriff's deputies – was not wearing a body camera. 

According to Walton + Brown, there were nine people in Goodson's house when the incident took place, including five adults and four children. None of Goodson's family members heard the conversation between him and the deputy, and said they did not know what was going on until they heard gun shots.

Family members say Goodson was shot while returning from the dentist, and had just unlocked the door. Goodson's sister claims he was shot in the back, although that not been confirmed yet.

After being shot, Goodson's 5-year old brother saw him lying on the kitchen floor, according to Walton + Brown. The family did not see a gun on Goodson, although authorities said that a gun was recovered from the scene. 

"He was an amazing person, full of life and love," reads an emailed statement from the family. "He really cared about his younger siblings and tried to teach them the right way to live. Everyone who speaks about him can't believe that this could happen to him." 

Goodson, who was the oldest of 10 children, had his commercial driver's license and drove a truck before the pandemic hit. Since then, he had been working at The Gap.

Several lawmakers, including Rep. Joyce Beatty and the Columbus City Council, spoke out Monday about Goodson's death.

"The circumstances surrounding his tragic death are upsetting and extremely unsettling," Beatty wrote on Twitter. "Too many Black men are dying or are victims of unjustifiable, excessive force from the very people sworn to protect and serve all of us. I join Casey's family, friends and the entire community in demanding accountability and seeking justice for his senseless killing."

"While the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is not a part of City government and we must wait for the results of the investigation, this loss of life weighs heavy upon us," wrote Council members in a press release.

A protest over Goodson's killing is planned for this coming Saturday at the Ohio Statehouse.