An officer has been relieved of his duties for a surprising reason.

Stephen Mader has been let go from his job because he failed to shoot a suspect while responding to a domestic incident in Weirton, W.V., back in May.

Mader said the suspect, Ronald D. “R.J.” Williams Jr., 23, had a gun -- which turned out to be unloaded -- but was not pointing it at him.

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."

Two other cops showed up and Williams started walking in their direction. One of those officers shot and killed him, in what authorities determined was a justified shooting.

When Mader returned to work later that month, he was told he was being placed on administrative leave because he put the other officers in danger.

In June, Mader was fired because not shooting Williams meant he "failed to eliminate a threat." There were other unrelated incidents cited for Mader's firing. He also did not attend a hearing to approve his termination.

As for the other officers, whose presence led to Williams' death, Mader harbors no ill will. “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.”

The city would not comment on the matter.

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