PITTSFIELD TWP. — Kenneth K. Cole, the man who died Monday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound during a standoff with Lorain County sheriff’s deputies, was high on heroin, his mother said during a 911 call.
“My son’s a heroin addict, and he’s wigging out,” an emotional Esther Cole told the 911 dispatcher. “He’s trying to kill me.”
Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh said investigators are awaiting a toxicology report on what was in Cole’s system when he died.
During the 911 call, Esther Cole said her 30-year-old son was punching holes in the door of the duplex she shared with her husband.
“He’s, he’s been stealing everything we have,” she said. “If he caught me on the phone right now, he’d probably kill me. I gotta go. I gotta go.”
Esther Cole then hung up abruptly, but the dispatcher called her back moments later and asked for more details about what was happening at 46167 state Route 303, which sits just west of state Route 58.
Esther Cole said that Kenneth K. Cole, who the family calls Kyle, had been arrested by Elyria police on DUI charges Sunday night and that she woke him up Monday morning to confront him about stolen property, which included a ring. She also complained that her son, who court records indicate lived in Elyria, had been calling drug dealers from her phone.
Elyria Municipal Court records showed Kenneth K. Cole has prior convictions for underage consumption and disorderly conduct in addition to traffic citations.
She said Kenneth K. Cole snorted heroin and also drank and was taking the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. She said her son had been in treatment but had stopped going to sessions.
She also warned the dispatcher that deputies should be careful because of how her son was acting.
“This is not my son at all,” she said. “I was totally shocked. He was ranting that he was going to murder someone, for me to call all the cops, his dad, everybody.”
The dispatcher urged Esther Cole to find a safe place, and she finally climbed into her son’s car with her dog, but worried that her son would force his way into the car if he found out where she was.
She also told the dispatcher that there were guns in the house, including a handgun that was kept in the arm of an easy chair. Cavanaugh has said that Kenneth K. Cole shot himself in the head with a small-caliber pistol and the Lorain County SWAT Team found a shotgun and pellet gun inside the house during their search.
Esther Cole said that her son had threatened to kill himself in the past by shooting himself in the head.
As she waited for deputies, Esther Cole said she heard a gunshot.
“If it wasn’t a bullet, I certainly don’t know what it was,” she told the dispatcher.
Cavanaugh said that after deputies arrived, one talked briefly with Kenneth K. Cole via cell phone and he asked for about 15 minutes to get ready and he would be out. That was the last contact deputies had with him.
County Coroner Stephen Evans, who did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday, has said Kenneth K. Cole killed himself shortly after he last communicated with deputies.
SWAT officers moved in around 2:45 p.m. Monday after hours of silence and found Kenneth K. Cole’s body in the basement between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Cole’s family, some of whom urged him to surrender during the standoff over a bullhorn, has declined to comment.
But Esther Cole said during the 911 call that what happened Monday was out of character for her son.
“My son has never acted like this before,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.