December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria man charged with beating up girlfriend, firing shots near police

Bryan Copeland

Bryan Copeland

ELYRIA — Police said an Elyria man had a few drinks, beat up his girlfriend and fired shots near police officers before hiding out in his house early Saturday.

Bryan Copeland Jr., 33, was charged with two counts of felonious assault, two counts of assault, two counts of aggravated menacing, having weapons under disability and using weapons while intoxicated around 4 a.m. at a house at 1133 Barbara St.

The arrest came after an argument between Copeland and his girlfriend, Tiffany Castro, according to Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino.

Castro’s friend, Melissa Ramos, told police she and Castro left a bar a little after 2 a.m. Saturday and were driving through Elyria when they saw Copeland standing on the 1100 block of Melvyn Lane.

According to Costantino, Castro and Copeland had gotten into an argument on Friday and Castro wanted to stop and talk to him about it.

When the women pulled over the car, Copeland reached inside, grabbed Castro by her hair and shoulders and threw her on the ground where he started beating her, Costantino said. When Ramos tried to separate the two, Copeland pulled out a handgun and threatened her with it, Ramos told police.

As soon as she saw the gun, Ramos ran back to the car to leave, but she told police Copeland stepped in front of her and said he would shoot if she did.

Ramos was able to start the engine and drive away, but not before Copeland fired one shot at her, hitting the hood of the car, according to a police report.

Police arrived around 2:45 a.m. Saturday to find a crowd of people but no sign of Copeland or Ramos, according to Costantino.

Officers soon found Castro — she was getting into a friend’s car and didn’t have any serious injuries from the incident, according to police.

About 3:45 a.m., as police continued looking for both Ramos and Copeland, they heard about six more gunshots coming from the 1100 block of Barbara Street, according to Costantino.

“They were concerned that they may be the target of the gunshots,” Costantino said.

Police called in additional officers and set up a perimeter around the 1100 block of Barbara Street to search for Copeland.

Around the same time, other officers found Ramos standing outside on the 1100 block of Barbara St.

Ramos told police what had happened an hour earlier when she and Castro met Copeland.

She then told officers that she had just seen Copeland waving a gun in the area, around the time of the second set of shots.

Police could see a single bullet hole in Ramos’ car hood from the earlier incident.

Police found Copeland hiding in his house at 1133 Barbara St.

He refused to come out until officers called him on the phone and convinced him to turn himself in, he said.

He was taken to Lorain County Jail, where he was being held on Monday on a $550,000 bond.

His next court date is at 1 p.m. Monday in Elyria Municipal Court.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.