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Deputy fatally shoots man

Wire • Jan 31, 2011 at 7:00 PM

For the second time in two weeks, an Ohio law-enforcement official has shot and killed someone.

An Auglaize County sheriff's deputy fatally shot Dennis R. Slone, a former police officer, after he led law enforcement on a low-speed vehicle chase Friday evening in St. Marys.

The deputy shot Slone after he emerged with a handgun from his Ford SUV in the parking lot of Rough Rider Express Marathon, off of South Street south of downtown, Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said.

The deputy, who is not being identified, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

"At this point, we strongly believe that procedure was followed by the deputies and officers involved," Solomon said.

The Sheriff's Office received a call that Slone, 42, of Waynesfield, was headed toward St. Marys possibly with a weapon to harm himself or someone else. Solomon would not release any more about the call.

Sheriff's deputies and St. Marys police officers located Slone on the north side of the city limits and pursued him for about two miles. He got out of the vehicle with the gun and was shot by the deputy.

"All we are releasing is that one deputy shot at and struck Mr. Slone," said Solomon, who refused to speculate when asked questions about Slone's mental state and whether he may have planned to commit suicide.

"We are not going to damage the integrity of the case," he said. "We are going to let BCI complete their investigation."

The chase never exceeded 15 mph, St. Mary's Police Chief Gregory Foxhoven said, adding that Slone stopped at red lights before going through them and even used his turn signal.

"At no time was it reckless," he said. "It seemed obvious to us that he was taking steps to make sure the public was not in danger as a result of his pursuit."

Slone served on the St. Marys Police Department for 15 months, starting in November 1995. He didn't pass his probation period because of performance issues, Foxhoven said. The information didn't change how officers handled the situation, Foxhoven said, but they were keenly aware of his experience with firearms.

"Obviously, when we have an individual who has been trained in firearms, it always increases the dangers of it," he said.

The incident occurred around 6 p.m. Slone was treated at the scene by officers until St. Marys Fire Department paramedics arrived and transported him to Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys. He died at 6:45 p.m. The body was taken to the Lucas County Coroner's Office in Toledo.

There were some people in the gas station parking lot at the time of the shooting and several inside.

"It is speculation, but I am sure it caused some concern for the deputies and officers," Solomon said.

An employee at the gas station said no one was there Saturday who had witnessed the shooting Friday.

Six deputies and police officers were on the scene when the shooting took place, with others arriving soon after. The Ohio State Highway Patrol also assisted at the scene, which was cleared just after 3:30 a.m.

Foxhoven said four of his officers worked with Slone on the department, but none of them were there when the shooting occurred. None of his officers are on leave, but he did shift schedules to give them time off. One other sheriff's deputy is on leave, Solomon said, just to make sure he is OK.

"This does not just affect those who were at the scene," he said. "It affects the wives and loved ones of the deputies, the dispatchers. It just affects a lot of people."

Foxhoven and Solomon agreed to call in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. It could take a few weeks for the investigation to be complete, both said.

"We are very confident of their office," Foxhoven said. "They have a lot more experience than we do to do this investigation."

It's been 25 years since an Auglaize County deputy has been involved in a shooting. He returned fire after being shot at, Solomon said. That shooting wasn't fatal.

The incident comes just two weeks after a Fort Shawnee police officer shot a man during a traffic stop. Officials have said John T. Sowders, 20, became combative and fought with officers, slicing one officer with a knife.

After being unable to subdue him with stun guns, two officers fired their handguns. One bullet struck Sowders in the chest. He was pronounced dead after arriving at a Lima hospital. The incident is still under investigation

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Copyright (c) 2011, The Lima News, Ohio

By Beth L. Jokinen - The Lima News (MCT)

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

To see more of The Lima News or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.limanews.com.

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