NEWCOMERSTOWN, Ohio — The Newcomerstown police officer who reported being shot by a pair of suspects last Tuesday morning has admitted to fabricating the story to cover up the fact that he shot himself.
In a press conference held on Tuesday afternoon, Newcomerstown Police Chief Gary Holland and Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell told media outlets that Officer Bryan J. Eubanks made up the story that launched a statewide manhunt last week. Eubanks reportedly told investigators that the stress of a recent murder investigation caused him to want to inflict harm on himself, leading to last Tuesday’s incident.
Campbell said that, from the onset of the investigation into the shooting, suspicions were raised about the veracity of Eubanks’ story. Because the camera in Eubanks’ police cruiser was non-operational at the time of the alleged incident, and because Newcomerstown officers do not wear body cameras, Campbell said it was difficult to immediately confirm or deny the officer’s report.
Officer Eubanks reported last Tuesday that he pulled over a black Geo Tracker on South River Street at around 10:15 a.m. after observing that the vehicle had no visible license plates. Eubanks said that a male passenger reportedly opened fire, hitting the officer in the chest and the arm, before fleeing the scene.
A suspect, identified in an Ohio Blue Alert last Tuesday, was taken into custody after being identified by Eubanks, but was later cleared. The Blue Alert was called off just a few hours after being issued.
Eubanks tendered his resignation on Tuesday and was released on his own recognizance. He was a 14-year member of the Newcomerstown Police Department and also served the Cambridge Police Auxiliary.
The case has been turned over to Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer for consideration of charges.
Troopers with the State Highway Patrol, the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office, the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office, the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, the Newcomerstown Police and the Cambridge Police were involved in the search last Tuesday.
AVC News will bring you additional details, as they become available.