HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A friend of the man at the center of a murder in Weathersfield and confrontation with police in Howland, spoke out about the final frantic moments of his life.
Richard Latimer, 34, was the suspect of a Weathersfield shooting homicide Tuesday night. Police shot Latimer just three hours later in the Howland Giant Eagle parking lot. He later passed away at the hospital.
The story started in Weathersfield Township. Police believe Latimer shot and killed 44-year-old Van Blevins on Main Street around 7 p.m. Tuesday. They immediately knew Latimer was the suspect based on a 911 call from Latimer’s wife.
Latimer took off after the shooting, and police launched a manhunt.
Not long after, Latimer’s unnamed friend said he called her — frantic and hysterical — admitting to her he had killed someone.
“Rick started calling, he says, ‘I just shot a man,” she said. “He finally just snapped is the only thing we can come up with.”
Latimer’s friend said his life had taken a downward spiral. She said Latimer, his wife, and Blevins were in a love triangle.
The friend said Latimer took it out on everybody.
“I don’t know the exact story. I know that when he called us, he was screaming, ‘I did it, I killed him’…You could tell he was just in shock himself, saying it,” she said.
Latimer was frantic, hysterical, reaching out to his friends.
She made plans on the phone to meet him in the Giant Eagle parking lot. As she and her husband waited, they made another call to the police.
“I told them that he was on his way to meet us,” she said. “I told them we just don’t want him to get hurt. We don’t want him to kill himself. That was our worst fear.”
The friend’s car, with bullet holes in the window, still hasn’t moved from where police parked it last night.
As Latimer arrived, the couple got out of their car in the final conscious moments of his life.
“The cops started swarming, and he looked up and saw them, and he pulled the gun out and put it up against his own head. That was when they started yelling ‘Drop the gun!’ or ‘Drop the weapon!’ It was all going so fast at that point. Brian grabbed me and dragged me across because they were telling everybody to get down.”
Her husband dragged her out of the way onto the ground, and she laid on the asphalt of the parking lot.
“I watched them take him out of the car and I watched him go,” she said.
The time when police shot Latimer, around 10 p.m., is described as a high-traffic time for the Giant Eagle. Others also witnessed the chaos, including one man who sat in his car as bullets shattered his windows.
Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe said officers were attempting to protect everyone in the parking lot and themselves from the suspect.
Those with information on the incident are asked to call Ohio BCI’s Youngstown office at 330-884-7500.