NEW PHILADELPHIA – A Newcomerstown police officer has been fired and could face multiple charges after he admitted Tuesday that he shot himself in the arm and made up a story that he was shot by someone in a black Geo Tracker during a traffic stop.
Bryan J. Eubanks, 37, a 14-year veteran with the Newcomerstown Police Department, admitted under questioning from investigators Tuesday that he had made up the story to cover up a failed suicide attempt.
Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell said Eubanks could face multiple charges, including inducing panic and theft for reporting hospital treatment of his injury as work-related. Prosecutor Ryan Styer will determine what Eubanks will face.
“… He’ll be held accountable just like anybody else will,” Campbell said.
Shortly after 10 a.m. on April 11, Eubanks radioed hat he had made a traffic stop involving a black Geo Tracker on the bridge over the Tuscarawas River at South River Street. He then claimed that he had been shot in the right forearm by a passenger in the vehicle before it fled.
At a press conference Tuesday, Newcomerstown Police Chief Gary Holland said Eubanks was terminated from the force.
About 100 local, county and state were involved in a search for suspects the first day along with officials from the FBI, ATF and the U.S. Marshal’s Service. A potential suspect — identified by Eubanks — came in for questioning but was cleared, Campbell said.
“We had a house surrounded in Coshocton County from one of the leads, so it was quite a response,” Campbell said. “However, the outcome of the case is not as we had hoped.”
The story began to unravel when the sheriff’s office used a license plate reader on Eubanks’ cruiser to talk to the owners of all the cars that passed the cruiser on the bridge. Four witnesses said there was no other vehicle there and Eubanks was standing alone on the bridge.
Confronted by investigators, Eubanks confessed, saying he shot himself with a .40-caliber weapon that he owned. The weapon has not been recovered.
Eubanks said that “he has been struggling emotionally with some things” since he worked on the murder last year of Jane Plants of Newcomerstown, Campbell said. Her son Charles has been charged.
“He cooperated. He wanted this to end today” Campbell said. “He gave us a statement, both written and recorded, saying that he made it up, that his intention was to harm himself the entire time.”
Eubanks was released to his family and will seek immediate mental health treatment.
Asked about the officer’s demeanor during questioning, Campbell said: “Like a man scared to lose everything he ever cared about, from employment to family. When you back yourself into a corner with so many deceptions and the risk is so great, it’s a very tough thing to come back and admit.”