OBERLIN — An Oberlin man faces felony charges after allegedly freeing two dogs Sunday and telling a police officer the dogs would “f— him up,” according to a police report.
During the incident, Oberlin police Patrolman Mark Ellis was bitten, and two shots were fired, wounding one dog and angering some neighbors who worried about ricocheting bullets.
Police will conduct a use-of-force investigation to determine if the shooting was within department guidelines, according to Oberlin police Lt. Mike McCloskey.
Lewis Wade, 20, was charged with felony assault on a police officer and obstructing official business and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and animal running at large.
A police report gave the following account of the incident, which began at 5:39 p.m. when Ellis was working on an accident report in the 200 block of South Park Street.
While doing the paperwork, he saw Wade throwing a tennis ball to an unleashed large brown “pit bull” dog that chased the ball into several properties.
Ellis told Wade the dog could not be running loose and Wade replied, “Yeah, right,” and made a posture as if he were going to throw the tennis ball again.
Ellis asked for Wade’s identification after Wade used obscenities, and Wade replied, “F— you, you want my ID, I got something for you,” and walked to his home.
The officer called for backup, and Wade opened the door and let out two dogs while calling their names.
Ellis began to back away while watching the dogs and Wade yelled “Get off my f—–g property or these dogs are gonna f— you up.”
Ellis extended his arms, attempting to push Wade away, while drawing his Taser. He was bitten on the right wrist when one of the pit bulls lunged at him, according to the report.
Ellis sustained minor injuries and again attempted to back away while drawing his gun.
At that point the two dogs began approaching him again, growling and showing teeth in an aggressive manner.
Ellis fired two shots at the most aggressive of the two animals, striking the one that had bitten him, according to the report.
The dogs ran away, and Ellis told Wade he was under arrest for assault on a police officer, and Wade swore again and stated, “Just try and arrest me.”
Ellis picked up the Taser in the driveway and told Wade if he did not put his hands behind his back he would be stunned.
Wade’s mother came out and also yelled at police about shooting at the dogs but told Wade, “Do as the officer says.”
When backup officers arrived, Wade stopped resisting and was arrested.
A witness identified as Robert Owens told police he saw Wade release the dogs, according to the report.
Neighbor Janna Johnson told a reporter she did not approve of gunfire in a residential neighborhood, saying children were walking around.
“Everyone was stunned,” Johnson said, adding the dogs are “very friendly and play with my cat.”
Her 17-year-old son, Michael, said Wade was wrong for “cussing at the officer,” but the bullets could have ricocheted and hurt someone.
McCloskey said in an email that he appreciated neighbors’ concerns, but “police officers are often faced with making split second decisions in response to rapidly evolving situations.
“No officer takes the decision to use their firearm lightly,” McCloskey said.
McCloskey said he did not know what happened to the dogs and whether the wounded animal survived.
Wade, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday, was unavailable for comment. His attorney, Jeffrey Eldeman, said he was not yet familiar with the case.
Wade was issued a citation for dog at large and menacing Feb. 3, according to the report.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.