West Virginia Officer Stephen Mader Reportedly Fired For Not Shooting Somebody

Weirton Officer Stephen Mader was reportedly fired for not shooting a

Weirton Officer Stephen Mader was reportedly fired for not shooting a suspect.

West Virginia Officer Stephen Mader Fired For Not Shooting Somebody

Weirton, West Virginia – Weirton Police Officer Stephen Mader was reportedly fired after he did not shoot an armed suspect during a May 6th incident.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette Reports that Stephen Mader was a rookie officer when he responded to a domestic disturbance and found Ronald Williams Jr., 23, armed with a gun. “I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mader told the newspaper.

“I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ Then he starts flicking his wrist to get me to react to it. I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a suicide-by-cop” situation,” Mader said.

Two other officers then arrived and Ronald Williams Jr. walked toward them, waving his gun at them. The officers responded to the apparent threat to their lives by shooting Williams. While not known to any of the officers at the time, it was later discovered that the gun was not loaded.

All officers were placed on leave, and an investigation determined the shooting was justified. When Stephen Mader returned to work a couple of weeks later, he was sent to speak with Weirton Police Chief Rob Alexander.

Stephen Mader said that the chief told him, “We’re putting you on administrative leave and we’re going to do an investigation to see if you are going to be an officer here. You put two other officers in danger.”

Mader responded, “right then I said to him: ‘Look, I didn’t shoot him because he said, ‘Just shoot me.’ ” Mader was later given a notice of termination which noted that he “failed to eliminate a threat,” along with two other incidents on his record.

While Stephen Mader claims he was never given an opportunity to explain himself, he chose not to show up to the city’s termination hearing. Mader has no other recourse to challenge his termination because he was a new officer in probationary status.

After the incident, Stephen Mader agrees with the other officer’s decision to shoot, even though he didn’t think it was necessary. “They did not have the information I did,” he said. “They don’t know anything I heard. All they know is [Mr. Williams] is waving a gun at them. It’s a shame it happened the way it did, but, I don’t think they did anything wrong.”

Police officers are given discretion on when to use deadly force, as long as it’s legally justified. A police officer will generally experience several instances in their career where they would be legally justified in using deadly force, but they instead make a judgement call to place their life at greater risk in order to save the suspect’s life. Police departments generally encourage their officers to use less force, and it’s exceptionally uncommon for an officer to be fired for not using deadly force.

When other officers hear the story of a fellow officer’s potentially deadly confrontation, they often respond that if they were in the same situation, they would have used deadly force. In reality, that may not be true. When an officer is involved in a potentially deadly situation, they use their judgement considering the totality of the circumstances to decide whether the risk to their life is worth not using deadly force. The officer is gambling with their life, but the reward could be saving a family from losing somebody that they care about.

The situation gets murkier when other officers are on scene. When multiple officers are on scene, then not only is the officer risking their own life, they are also risking the lives of their fellow officers.

Generally officers should be reserved in questioning the judgement of an officer who was on-scene and decided not to use deadly force; if you weren’t there, then you don’t truly have the same understanding of the circumstanced. However, Stephen Mader’s reported reasoning for not shooting is questionable. He appeared to reason that because it was a “suicide by cop” situation, the suspect was not a threat that needed to be stopped. Suicidal people are extremely dangerous because they don’t plan to stick around to see the consequences of their actions. Douglas County Detective Dan Brite was critically injured after being shot by a suicidal suspect (this deputy can still use your prayers.)

It was also unreasonable to wait for Ronald Williams Jr. to point a gun at somebody, because by then, it could have been too late. Keep in mind, it wasn’t just Mader’s life that he was gambling with, but the lives of two other officers.

Do you think that firing Stephen Mader was appropriate, or should he have been given remedial training? Comment on this article on our Facebook page and let us know what you think.

  • the_gator

    Yes, if you wait to have a gun pointed at you, then it’s usually to late.

    • Joe Malburg III

      No gun was pointed. Unloaded guns don’t do much damage. They have non-lethal weapons.

      Any other stupid comments?

      • Tyler

        How in the hell would the officers have any way of knowing the gun wasn’t loaded? You don’t bring a taser to a gunfight. Any other stupid comments?

        • I AM DEPORABLE ✓ᵀᴿᵁᴹᴾ

          All officers are taught the Force Continuum for a reason. It saves their life and the lives of others.

      • the_gator

        First you can’t read, he pointed it at the backup officers. Second, YOU can wait to see if it’s loaded after he pulls the trigger, oh by them you are dead! You won’t even be hired, so no worry about you having to make that judgement.
        Any other really stupid comments!

        • Cynic2

          Try again with reading, the article said he waved the gun at the officers not pointed or aimed. If the police shot everybody waving with their guns, we had a lot less open carriers in the country, right?

          • the_gator

            Wrong, Try reading and understanding, waving a gun at police officers, read the word AT. Will get you shot. Anybody waving a gun at a police officer probably will get you shot, most have something called commonsense and know you don’t wave a gun at anybody.

          • Cynic2

            Well, try reading and reasoning: Waving a gun at somebody does not mean pointing or aiming it, although shaky police officers may feel threatened by it and act accordingly. While it is realistic to assume such action will get you killed the former Marine was apparently not rattled by the presence of a weapon but showed discipline, understanding of the situation and training.

          • the_gator

            He was fired for a reason, I believe correctly fired. It is obvious that you have never been in that type of situation, so listening to your Monday morning quarterbacking is meaningless.

          • Cynic2

            Sure thing, you do not have arguments so to you it is meaningless to discuss the topic. He was fired for a reason and I believe it was incompetence of the chief of police. It is obvious that you do not know what you are talking about and now make assumptions about people you know nothing about as your arguments do not stick.

          • the_gator

            I would bet my assumption about you is correct. You have never been in a situation like that before, and no officer would want to be near you in a situation like that. Goodbye, conversation over.

          • the voice of reason

            are you five? The way you argue it kind of seems like you’re five

          • the_gator

            Grow up, there was no argument, pointing out facts, that some people refuse to accept. There is a difference. To bad you don’t realize it’s pointless to argue over the internet, sometimes you can educate someone and when you realize they won’t let facts, commonsense and logic get in their way of thinking, it’s time to say goodbye. So goodbye.

          • the voice of reason

            it is obvious you have shared no facts and as that is the case you are right, there is no argument. as is customary of a young child when they notice things aren’t going their way, or feel that they aren’t coming out on top, you prefer to “say goodbye” than to actually provide “facts”, and a logical discussion. So you’re right, instead of wasting my time trying to get you to pull your head out of the sand and realize that just because someone has a weapon is not good enough ground to murder them, and that this officer actually acted EXACTLY as an officer should in situations like these where there is no clear threat (read: a situation where the suspect, though carrying a weapon, made no move to use it on the officer , and so the officer – who was on the scene alone at first and not putting anyone’s life at risk except his own – decided to try and save someone’s life who was in very clear desperate need of help instead of just killing him in cold blood and dealing with the backlash later), I shall leave you with this – I hope you never have to deal with any such tragedy, however even so – I hope that you one day learn to look at the world from a perspective that isn’t your own, and gain some empathy. You condemn those who won’t “open their eyes to facts and logic” while you are committing the same exact crime.

          • Tyler

            I love how when an issue like this arises, all of a sudden these people who have never been a cop in their lives suddenly become experts on police tactics and have a solution for every problem a cop would deal with.

          • SixFootThree

            Yea because cops are such “experts”. A couple of months in an Academy where everyone passes is far from being trained like a Marine.

          • KLC

            You already said conversation over… and You have all the answers … so go ahead and leave.

          • Cynic2

            So you are more for gambling than for analysis. Like in the real world, you’d lose this one. 🙂

          • SixFootThree

            “monday morning quarterback” you are obviously a cop and not a good one. Stephen Mader was a Marine who did several tours of duty, the only tour of duty you have ever done was to the local doughnut shop. He has more training in his pinky than you have in your whole body.

          • KLC

            Agreed!!! a brave marine with a cool head who was not a stranger to armed conflict

          • Katrina

            When people resort to name calling and/or insults, they have no valid arguments. Marine messed up twice before. Destroying evidence at a murder scene, and performing an illegal search after swearing at the people involved. If you bothered to do a little research, you wouldn’t be so likely to jump to faulty conclusions. He apparently wasn’t cut out for law enforcement. Not to say he might not be a good man, just not a good fit for the job – ALL aspects of the job. Are you also one who is demanding police police their own and get rid of the ‘bad apples’? Well, that is what it looks like happened here. Which way do you want it?

          • KLC

            Amen to that! “Marine was apparently not rattled by the presence of a weapon but showed discipline, understanding of the situation and training.” Says it all.

            The department fired him to back up the other officers, in order to save themselves in a lawsuit. If they want to argue that the shooting was justified, how could they do that while at the same time supporting an officer who was calmly handling the situation before the other officers showed up.

          • Katrina

            Marine messed up twice before. Destroying evidence at a murder scene, and performing an illegal search after swearing at the people involved. If you bothered to do a little research, you wouldn’t be so likely to jump to faulty conclusions. He apparently wasn’t cut out for law enforcement. Not to say he might not be a good man, just not a good fit for the job – ALL aspects of the job. Are you also one who is demanding police police their own and get rid of the ‘bad apples’? Well, that is what it looks like happened here. Which way do you want it?

        • SixFootThree

          The man just so happened to “wave his gun” at the two OTHER OFFICERS who killed him but not once did he wave his gun at the Ex-Marine Stephen Mader who assessed the situation and knew it was suicide by cop???? SOUNDS FISHY . Stephen Mader was correct all along in his suicide by cop theory yet he knows he can’t “rat” on the other 2 officers by telling the truth that no gun was ever pointed at them. Again why didnt the suicidal man point his gun at Stephen Mader???? Every cop who shoots someone always says they brandished a gun yet video evidence is proving more and more that this is a lie they make up after they kill someone.

          • KLC

            I am with you on the suicide by cop theory and the cya on the part of the other two.
            I don’t know about the second claim that officers plant guns after the fact as a regular occurrence.

          • SixFootThree

            Literally a two second Google search yields this…. cop kills and plants gun and taser on the guy he murdered (shot in the back!!)..
            “A North Charleston, South Carolina police officer, Michael T. Slager, was arrested on a murder charge Tuesday after video surfaced of the lawman shooting eight times at 50-year-old Walter Scott as he ran away.”
            Like I said, it happens, and this cop would have gotten away with it if someone didnt video him.

          • KLC

            It can and does happen … but I would not assume this as the rule. The man did have a gun, that part is not in question.

            Either way, it is fairly clear that the officer who was fired and did not show up at the hearing was being retaliated against for not backing these 2 officers up on “reasonable use of force.”

            Ultimately, I believe that it gives the appearance of improper conduct on the part of the other 2 officers, and I believe that their tactics will backfire on them in dealing with the family of the victim.

        • SixFootThree

          The Police and FBI can bring in a TERRORIST ALIVE who planted bombs in 3 different places and was considered ARMED AND DANGEROUS!!!! Yet a guy with an unloaded gun, whom a highly trained war veteran MARINE already assessed as not a threat needs to be murdered??? Ya sure!

          • Katrina

            Because all situations are identical? LOL There is a difference between putting your weapon down and surrendering and waving it at someone. The outcomes are different, too.

    • I AM DEPORABLE ✓ᵀᴿᵁᴹᴾ

      Much better to be safe than dead or have dead fellow officers laying around you.

      • SixFootThree

        Right because a suicidal man with an UNLOADED gun who keeps asking you to kill him is so dangerous. A half wit can figure out this is suicide by cop yet you and the two nitwits who came and killed cant figure that out. So they fulfilled a mentally ill man’s murder request and you actually condone it.

        • KLC

          No one knew that his gun was unloaded. I think the issue here is that, upon arrival, the other 2 officers rushed in and took action without assessing the situation and with total disregard for the fact that the first officer was already engaged in suicidal negotiations with the armed individual. And the assumption offered as justification for firing the first officer was to suggest that he was incompetent in assessing the danger of the situation. Clearly his actions and history suggest however that his actions were anything but incompetent.

  • VOTE TRUMP 2016 ✓ᵀᴿᵁᴹᴾ

    Sounds like he froze in the face of danger and put himself and fellow officers lives at risk. Terminating him will save his life and possibly others. Not everyone is cut out to be a police officer.

    • Joe Malburg III

      Fuck you you moron. The guy fought in Afghanistan and a pussy like you says he froze in the face of danger. No, he did the opposite. He assessed the situation and made the right choice as would have been proven if two insane murderers didn’t shoot a man with an unloaded gun who never threatened anyone but himself.

    • tim

      He didn’t freeze. The officer said the gun was never pointed at him. The subject was flicking his wrist to get him to shoot. Seems the officer did recognized it was a suicide by cop situation and tried to talk him down. Good read by him. Would you prefer he just shoot him, there would be hell to pay for that.. Unfortunatley the situation went down hill after other officers arrived and he did point the weapon at them. That’s the time for deadly force. Judging by the article alone this guy did the right thing. As the saying goes ” unless you’ve been there you should hold your tongue,” I’m speaking from experience.

    • Dave Zavistoski

      You’re being ridiculous the damn guy was trying to save a man’s life!!! Not everyone with a gun in their hands needs to be killed wtf is wrong with you people. If the other cops would’ve just backed off I bet he would’ve talked the guy down.

    • Cynic2

      Sounds like officer Mader was the only officer present who analyzed the situation correctly and acted accordingly. He did not freeze but deescalated verbally and monitored his suspect. The report does not mention, whether he had his weapon aimed on the suspect, but if that was the case, he could have shot the suspect in time, if he had actually pointed the gun at him before the suspect could have shot.
      Firing him despite the evidence he made the right call is serious dereliction of duty by the chief of police.

    • stuhuzz1981

      No, freezing like a wuss is what Trump did when someone rushed the stage and subsequently hugged onto a Secret Service agent like he was his mommy.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1QL1MmyMhQ

      This cop actually utilized proper textbook deescalation practices after assessing the situation to be suicide by cop and not an inherent threat to him or others. When the two other officers came barging in it gave the subject an opportunity to draw and have his suicidal tendencies fulfilled.

    • VOTE TRUMP 2016 ✓ᵀᴿᵁᴹᴾ

      What I find really funny is all the clowns insulting me and name calling just because I have an opinion. Thanks to all of you for to the conversation instead acting like jack asses…..OH WAIT THAT IS ALL YOU DID!!!

      • SixFootThree

        You aren’t voicing your “opinion” you are making incorrect statements which are two totally different things but I wouldn’t expect a 60 credit college dropout cop like you to grasp the difference. Don’t you have an innocent civilian with an unloaded gun to kill?

  • Patrick Revard

    Let the liberals hear that headline ????

    • the voice of reason

      what’s the benefit of making that type of generalization and separation of people? I would hope that ANYONE who reads that headline would be outraged and demand at least an explanation.

    • NYCMaverick

      I like it how you guys try to paint the guy who fought in Afghanistan as a rookie who “froze in danger”. This guy has probably seen more action than his police force combined. He’s a real Hero, not some punk bully cop

  • John T. Clark

    Kid you should have at least shown up to your Liberty Interest hearing. Once you FTA’ed your Due Process as a probationary employee was complete. Since you chose not attend, I assume you too agreed being a police officer was not for you. No shame, it’s not for everyone and fortunately, none of your friends were hurt or killed.

    • Joe Malburg III

      If you bothered to find out what happened, he decided he was ashamed of the police department, disgusted by their callousness and didn’t to be a part of their criminal activity. He should be commended for not standing with bad cops who make good cops like those in my family look very bad.

      • calwatch

        On the other hand 90% of life is just showing up. Failure to appear means that whatever the superiors say is good. That is probably the biggest issue I have with this officer’s judgment.

        • KLC

          There is no way to know what was behind his not showing up… I guess there could have been concern for the safety of himself and his family.

      • John T. Clark

        Joe no offense, but you’ve never in your live gone to a man with a gun call have you?

  • Zach O’Neill

    I wasn’t there and I wasn’t in his shoes at the time.

    It sort of sounds like a freezing moment, and the responding officers definitely acted appropriately. However, he’d be in deeper water had he of not stopped the threat appropriately and another officer got hurt… and I think the Chief was thinking 5 miles down the road for his decision.

    At the very least I would have put him through some re-training and evaluation before terminating if that indeed needed to be done. But, then again, when is it too late? Was he going to realize he should’ve stopped the threat only after another officer’s flag was being handed to their loved ones?

    • Cynic2

      Why retrain somebody who assessed the situation correctly and acted accordingly? He had the situation under control and likely could have stopped the suspect, if he had started to pose a threat.

      • NYCMaverick

        Cops are trained to shoot first ask questions later, not to actually analyze a situation. Bad cops win again

  • Joe Malburg III

    Stop justifying murder. It’s murder, plain and simple. Someone is dead that doesn’t have to be, that posed no actual threat and you think that’s an okay ending?

    You’re despicable.

    • Doug Packer

      It wasn’t murder because he pointed the gun at those officers. It could have been avoided if they hadn’t shown up though, because the first officer was better at reading the situation.

  • Bobby

    I want to know why a rookie already had 2 incidents on his record.

    • I AM DEPORABLE ✓ᵀᴿᵁᴹᴾ

      It just sounds as though he was not meant to be a police officer. Few people are truly able to handle that job. There are many other criminal justice careers for him to pursue.

      • NYCMaverick

        He’s actually trained and seems to have some sort a bit of a conscience, of course he’s not fit to be an officer

      • SixFootThree

        He’s not fit to be an officer yet he’s done several tours in the middle east as a marine lol what is he not able to handle? Eating doughnuts all day or killing innocent people and covering it up?

    • the voice of reason

      one incident was for not reporting the death of an older woman as “suspicious” when it appeared as if she had fallen in her home and had a stroke (the two other, more experienced, officers who were with him in that situation also did not report the death as suspicious), and the other was for a complaint someone had made saying he had been rude while arresting her husband for disorderly conduct. Neither of which (ESPECIALLY the first incident) seem like well enough grounds to terminate an officer, but this deporable guy who is actually deplorable likes to make unbased assumptions and judgments and run with them (I am not surprised by this fact at all, considering).

  • Ryan

    Well, you guys are right about one thing: he wouldn’t fit in as a cop. He was a better officer than all of you.

    • KLC

      Wow! that was a pretty sweeping JUDGEMENT!

  • Doug Packer

    In hindsight looks like he made the right decision. He felt the guy was only looking to be shot and NOT to hurt someone, and since the gun wasn’t loaded he was proved right. Too bad the other officers showed up before he could totally diffuse the situation. And with less information available to them, the officers made the right decision for the information they had. He’s better off not being in a department where the chief doesn’t trust or support his officers!

  • Tacticalterry

    My .02, he could have saved the guys life, the guy could have had bullets and shot one of the officers killing him/her. Maybe this is something u can attempt from great cover and concealment but not something you should be trying in any other situation. I don’t exactly think he was right but I don’t agree termination was the right thing. Maybe some more training so he can see the other side of the argument.

    Of course the department and its training could just suck. I worked at Vanderbilt which has a private police force in Nashville. I drew my gun on a suspect as I watched my training officer pull spray put it back pull baton put it back pull gun point at suspect. Later she tried to discipline me for not going through my force continum properly. She is a supervisor now. Just saying training could have been crap lol

  • NYCMaverick

    Bad cops win again. Bad cops always win in this fucked up system.

  • KLC

    Where the hell is BLM? An officer gets fired for NOT shooting at an armed black man!
    The officer was a former Marine. This is how he gets paid for bravery and a cool head.

    Some of the comments below miss the point in arguing about whether the gun was loaded or whether the other officers were justified in shooting him. This is about the officer who chose not to shoot.

    “Police officers are given discretion on when to use deadly force, as long as it’s legally justified. .. Police departments generally encourage their officers to use less force, and it’s exceptionally uncommon for an officer to be fired for not using deadly force.”