TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — An officer who was responding to a call in a store parking lot was shot and killed early Saturday morning by an intoxicated man holding a beer, police said.
Toledo Officer Anthony Dia was shot in the chest just after midnight in the parking lot of a Home Depot, and later pronounced dead at a hospital, Police Chief George Kral said at a news conference.
Witnesses told police the man shot the officer with a handgun and then went into a wooded area. At some point, officers heard a single gunshot coming from the woods, Kral said. The gunman, only described as a 57-year-old white male, was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the head around 3:15 a.m.
Kral said Dia was dispatched to check to “make sure that this man was OK.” Dia, 26, leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old child, the chief said.
Toledo resident Shalene Houke fought back sobs as she told The Toledo Blade she heard the officer asking for help and saying he’d been shot before losing consciousness.
“He was young, and he was scared,” she said.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said he was at Toledo Hospital where Dia was taken after the shooting.
“I will never forget the sight of Officer Dia being wheeled out of the hospital on a gurney, his body wrapped in an American flag, flanked by about 30 Toledo police officers, saluting and weeping,” the mayor said.
Neither Kral nor Kapszukiewicz took questions during the news conference. More information was expected to be provided at another news conference Monday.
Gov. Mike DeWine expressed his condolences and said he had ordered flags in Lucas County and at the Ohio Statehouse to fly at half-staff from Sunday through the officer’s funeral service.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement that his “heart breaks” for the family of the officer.
“Officer Dia lost his life doing what police do during every watch of their lives — trying to help someone,” Yost said. “His memory will stand tall forever, a man who was fulfilling his duty in his final act.”
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Photo “Officer Anthony Dia” by the Toledo Police Department.