April 21, 2014

Elyria
Mostly clear
54°F
test

Man killed following standoff in Elyria

ELYRIA — Jim King wished he could’ve spoken to his brother before police fatally shot him Sunday, but said he doesn’t blame officers for the death of William King.

“He brought all this on himself. I realize that,” King said before his brother was pronounced dead. “I understand what they’re going through if somebody’s got a gun. He did have a gun.”

At 5:03 p.m. Sunday, a man called 911 and said he had shot his wife and was planning to shoot himself at his home at 619 West River Road N., according to a 911 dispatcher.

However, Donna King was at a festival in Lorain when William King called police, according to Jim King.

Jim King said he drove to his brother’s nearby house where a standoff with police was occurring. Jim King said he told police Donna King wasn’t home and asked to talk to his brother.

King said police wouldn’t let him talk to his brother and about 15 minutes after his arrival, he heard 8 to 10 rapid-fire shots. Lt. Chris Costantino, who said he was filling in for a vacationing Chief Duane Whitely, wouldn’t comment on the shooting, but in a news release, police said officers fired in self-defense.

Officers confronted the man, who, police did not identify, on his back porch and he went inside, according to the release written by Lt. Phil Hammonds, who didn’t return a call for additional details Sunday night. A police dispatcher spoke with the man by phone and confirmed he had a pistol.

Shortly thereafter, the man walked out of the house with the pistol pointed at himself and refused orders to put it down, according to the report.

“(The man) then pointed the handgun at police at officers,” wrote Hammond, who didn’t identify who shot at King. “Officers fired and struck (the man).”

Jim King said Constantino told him his brother, 50, was shot in the stomach by officers and was flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. A nursing supervisor Sunday night confirmed King was pronounced dead there.

Jim King said William King was a machinist taking medication for cirrhosis of the liver and had been depressed for about a year due to the illness. While not blaming officers, Jim King said he wished he’d been allowed to speak with his brother before the shooting.

“I’m not going to say it would have helped, but you’d never know,” he said.

Ray Pearl, William King’s half-brother, described him as a “nice guy” who had been depressed for about a year.

The shooting is under investigation by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. Police departments routinely have other departments investigate officer-involved shootings to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of them.

Elyria police will be responsible for revealing the officers who fired at William King, according to Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh, who said King was shot by the southeast side of the house near Lake Avenue, said the investigation is being led by Detective Sgt. Donald Barker. Cavanaugh said he was unsure how long it would take to complete.

“You just have to piece all the information together,” he said. “That does take a while to do.”

Jim King said that William King falsely telling police he had shot Donna King makes him believe his brother may have been attempting to provoke officers into a “suicide by cop.”

King said he lives near the father of police Officer James Kerstetter — fatally shot in the line of duty in 2010 — and understands police have to be careful when guns are involved.

“That’s just one thing you don’t do. I don’t care who you are,” he said. “You don’t pull a gun on a cop.”

William Kings had previous encounters with police, dating back nearly 20 years and including convictions for disorderly conduct in 1994, domestic violence in 1999, and assault in 2001 and 2008.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.