April 21, 2014

Elyria
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Report released on suicide in jail parking lot

ELYRIA — The man who shot himself in the chest with a shotgun outside the Lorain County Jail on Saturday was a U.S. postal police officer who was distraught over his wife’s illness, according to county sheriff’s deputies.

Allan Joseph, 62, appears to have gone to the jail to commit suicide because he felt that deputies would be able to take care of things if he killed himself there, Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh said.

Deputy Michael Walker wrote in his report that he arrived for his shift around 2:30 p.m. Saturday when he heard a loud noise while still sitting in his personal vehicle.

The report said several other people, including sheriff’s employees and civilians, were in the vicinity and heard the gunshot.

Walker wrote that he went to investigate and saw Joseph lying on his back in a grassy area separating the employee and visitor parking lots.

Another deputy checked Joseph’s vital signs and determined that he was dead. Walker wrote that he then examined the black Chevrolet Cavalier, which was parked with its trunk open by Joseph’s body.

Inside the trunk, he found a Remington shotgun propped up on a tree branch with part of the branch inside the trigger guard.

The gun, which was still loaded with four shells, was secured. Deputies also found a note addressed to Sheriff Phil Stammitti.

Cavanaugh confirmed that Stammitti and Joseph were old friends.

The note informed deputies that Joseph had left his house unlocked and gave directions that guns inside the house be secured. It also contained a list of people, including family members, to contact about Joseph’s death.

Deputies went to visit Joseph’s wife, Marilyn Joseph, who was hospitalized at the time, and notified her of her husband’s death, the report said. She asked them to contact the couple’s two children.

They also went to Joseph’s South Amherst home to secure a .40-caliber pistol that he had left there.

County Coroner Stephen Evans has ruled that Joseph died from a single shotgun blast to his upper torso.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.