Northeast Ohio police officer killed while responding to domestic incident

Officer Justin Leo (Courtesy of the Girard Police Department)

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Girard police officer Justin Leo, 31, was shot late Saturday night and later died at the hospital. The suspect has been shot and killed by police.

BCI Special Agent James Ciotti said two Girard police officers were called to the 400 block of Indiana Ave. just after 10 p.m. for what he calls a domestic related incident.

According to Ciotti, everything seemed fine when the officers arrived, but as they were standing by the front door, the suspect opened fire and shot Leo. The other officer then shot and killed the suspect in response.

Officer Leo dropped to the ground almost immediately after being shot. He was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown for surgery, but later died at the hospital.

The entire night was emotional not only for the police department, but also the neighbors who saw and heard the whole thing happen.

From his kitchen window across the street, Arron Wayland watched the gruesome scene of an officer’s last call.

“We just started looking through the window and we watched both officers approach the house, knock on the door and it looked like they engaged in conversation for a few minutes,” he said. “It seemed like one shot from inside the house, then the second officer side-steps and shot three to four times.”

Wayland said that although he’s lived across the street for a while, he never met the suspect or encountered any problems.

“You never expect to see cops or at least around here get shot in this community. It just doesn’t happen,” he said.

Girard police, Liberty police and the Trumbull County Sheriff Department were all called to the scene.

Officials are not releasing the name of the suspect until his family has been notified of his death. They are still investigating if there was a motive.