HOWLAND TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The suspect shot by police officers in the Howland Giant Eagle parking lot Tuesday night is dead.
The Mahoning County Coroner’s Office confirmed 34-year-old Richard Latimer was pronounced dead just after 3 a.m. Wednesday. It said he died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Weathersfield Police Chief Michael Naples said Latimer is believed to be the suspect in a fatal shooting in the township earlier that night. Latimer’s wife reported that her husband shot and killed a man at a home on Route 46. She ran to Taco Bell in Austintown to report the murder.
Right now, it’s not known how police were able to track Latimer down to the Howland store or how he even got there.
At the Giant Eagle on Wednesday, only a few pieces of police tape are left tied to utility poles — remnants of the chaotic scene the night before.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now trying to figure out what happened when police officers encountered Latimer in the parking lot around 10 p.m. — described as a high-traffic time for the store.
BCI’s preliminary investigation shows two officers fired their weapons.
Howland Township administrators won’t identify who the officers are. They’re only saying the officers are veterans of the department and have both been placed on leave due to the traumatic experience and for their own well-being.
Kory Kuriatnyk said he was sitting in his car when the chaos erupted and he found himself in the crossfire. He said the suspect started shooting at his car.
“We heard like, one gunshot and it shook the car. It hit the window and I got a little glass in my mouth from it hitting, and we just ducked down. We didn’t know if like, everyone was okay,” he said.
Kuriatnyk said he thought the bullet went through the car door.
“But I never looked up, and so I was kind of huddled up, thinking I was in shock and handling it well. I was breathing and noticed I wasn’t hit.”
He said his car, along with others in the parking lot last night, are being held as evidence.
Michele Maggio was also at Giant Eagle when she noticed police lights.
“Suddenly, at least two or three cops pulled up. There was some yelling going on, ‘Put down the gun,’ and then there were gunshots,” she said.
Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe said officers were attempting to protect everyone in the parking lot and themselves from the suspect.
“These officers were forced to defend their own lives and the people in the parking lot here. It is a very busy plaza. They did a good job here tonight. They protected the lives of people here in Howland.”
Township Administrator Darlene St. George said she believes the officers involved in the shooting will be cleared of any wrongdoing after the BCI investigation. She said the Giant Eagle is very busy at that time of night, and someone could have been hurt.
She called the officers her heroes.
“Other people could have been harmed or killed. We have so much to be thankful to them for. They put their lives on the line and they saved other citizens in the community,” St. George said.
Those with information on the incident are asked to call Ohio BCI’s Youngstown office at 330-884-7500.
Suspect shot in Howland