SHEFFIELD TWP. — A 41-year-old man was killed early Saturday by members of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team after they said he fired at them.
The incident began around 1:40 a.m. when police were called about a man making threats inside a one-family home at 704 Dewitt St., which is near East 39th Street and Broadway in Lorain. Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh said Billy Alexander was killed in the backyard of the home after a nearly two-hour standoff with police.
“They were fired upon when they showed up at the scene,” he said adding that the killing is being investigated by Lorain police to avoid a conflict of interest. “Then there was a confrontation in the back.”
Alexander’s wife, Lisa Alexander, said Saturday afternoon that she and her three children, two sons — aged 12 and 18 and a 5-year-old-girl — ran out of the home shortly after deputies arrived and ordered them out. She said her husband had a gun, but didn’t know what triggered the incident.
“We’re not coping at all,” she said when asked how she and her children were dealing with her husband’s death.
A neighbor, who wouldn’t give his name, said after deputies knocked on the front door, Billy Alexander opened the door and fired a shot from a pistol. The deputies retreated to their cruiser and returned with one carrying a 12-gauge shotgun.
The neighbor said the deputy with the shotgun kicked in the front door while the other deputy ordered Lisa Alexander and the children out before the SWAT team arrived. Early in the standoff, the neighbor said officers told Alexander, “Hey, Billy, it doesn’t have to go down like this.” The neighbor said after Alexander was killed police carried a rifle out of the backyard.
Alexander is a registered sex offender convicted of rape and escape who was released from prison in 2008. The neighbor said Alexander and his family moved into the home in 2010, and police had been called to the home several times in the last few months over family disputes. A sticker on the front door of the home said, “Beware! Doberman on duty.”
Alexander was very private, neighbors said.
“He never liked to communicate with anybody,” next door neighbor Linda Pendleton said. “He wouldn’t let his kids talk to the neighbors or (anything).”
Prior to the shooting, neighbor Denise Stewart said Alexander’s daughter came out of the house saying her father had a gun and threatened to kill the family.
Stewart said officers tried to negotiate with Alexander before she heard a SWAT team member yell, “We’ve got a visual!” Seconds later, Alexander was killed with neighbors reporting up to 12 shots being fired.
“I feel so bad for the kids,” neighbor Tanya Fellmeth said. “It’s awful.”
Alexander was shot at least twice and was hit in the chest and stomach, according to Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County coroner. An autopsy will be performed Monday.
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.