Press conference held overnight, Girard mayor speaks out about loss

Girard Mayor Jim Melfi was fighting back tears as he described officer Justin Leo's character and how his colleagues will remember him

Girard Mayor James Melfi
Girard Mayor James Melfi

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Around 4 a.m. Sunday morning, a press conference was held at the Girard Police Department in regards to the fatal Saturday night shooting of officer Justin Leo.

Leo and another officer were called to a house on Indiana Ave. for a domestic related incident. When they arrived at the house, the suspect opened fire and shot Leo. The suspect was then killed by the other officer in response.

During an emotional press conference, BCI Special Agent James Ciotti explained that Leo had died in the hospital just before midnight.

“As you can imagine, this is a very difficult situation for everyone involved,” he said.


Watch the entire press conference here

Girard Mayor Jim Melfi was fighting back tears as he described Leo’s character and how his colleagues will remember him.

“Justin Leo is a young man I’ve known for almost all of his life … An absolute gentleman and someone who the city has been proud of since he’s been here with us,” Melfi said.

Melfi went on to say how brave the entire police department is and how proud he is of them. Leo had been with the department for five years.

“This is certainly the saddest day of our city’s history. It’s certainly the saddest day for me personally … Our community’s thoughts and prayers go to officer Leo’s family,” Melfi said.

Officer Justin Leo
Officer Justin Leo (Courtesy of the Girard Police Department)

The shooting of this police officer is affecting the entire city of Girard, even surrounding areas. Officers from around the Valley have been stopping by the police department to offer their condolences.

Sunday morning on Facebook, users began sharing a picture of a Girard Police Department badge with the message “In Our Prayers” above it.

Community members even stopped by the department with coffee and donuts for the officers who had been up all night at the scene.

Officials are still investigating the fatal shooting, withholding the suspect’s name until his family has been notified of his death.

WKBN has set up an online form for viewers to leave memories of how Officer Leo touched their lives, as well as messages of condolence for the family.

Leave your message below (If you are viewing this on the WKBN app, click here to view the form on WKBN.com):

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