'Terrible tragedy for the family' - Local man takes own life outside sheriff's office

(UPDATED with full story) Cops report seeing man in area shortly beforehand.
Cary Ashby
Jan 30, 2013


Authorities determined a 26-year-old Bellevue man shot himself in the head Wednesday morning near two Erie County office buildings.

The deceased subject has been identified as Jonathon K. Schaeffer, of 8611 E. Ohio 113.

"I talked to the family this (Wednesday) morning," Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.

"(There's) no history of suicidal behavior. They indicated they don't know how he came in possession of a firearm or how he obtained it," Sigsworth said.

Authorities found Schaeffer's body in the lawn between the sheriff's office and Erie County Services Center about 7:20 a.m. Deputies recovered a .380 Smith and Wesson pistol, Winchester .380 shell casing, three matching bullets, a black leather wallet containing $566 in cash and some photographs at the scene.

"His family doesn't know why he was near the Erie County Services Center building," Sigsworth said.

Schaeffer worked for FedEx in Columbus until about three or four months ago when he moved back home. Sigsworth said the man had been working at the Brier Oak Hunt Club outside of Bellevue.

A sheriff's employee notified Chief Deputy Jared Oliver about Schaeffer's body laying in the lawn.

"I went outside and was met by a county maintenance worker. He directed me to where the subject was," Oliver said in his report.

The deputy found Schaeffer's body about 20 yards west of the parking lot for the sheriff's office.

"The male was not moving. As I approached the subject, I observed what appeared to be blood coming from his nose and the left side of his head. The subject was obviously deceased," said Oliver, who checked for, but didn't find a pulse.

An ambulance responded to the scene along with four deputies, Perkins Township Police Chief Ken Klamar and several other officers.

"Detective (Paul) Defazio and I inspected the subject. I observed what appeared to be a gunshot entrance wound near the subject's right ear. There was obvious trauma on the left side of the subject's head. I was not able to observe if it was an exit wound from a gunshot because his head was covered in a hoodie," reported Oliver, who used the Ohio driver's license in the man's wallet to identify him as Schaeffer.

"The listed weapon was found underneath Schaeffer's right leg, near the back of his knee. I located a shell casing and a bullet near his left foot. The second bullet was found in the chamber of the pistol. The third bullet was found in the magazine inside of the pistol," Oliver said.

Members of the Perkins Township Fire Department confirmed Schaeffer was dead. A deputy notified Erie County Coroner Dr. Brian Baxter, who responded to the scene.

"Dr. Baxter examined Schaeffer and determined that he had what appeared to be a close contact gunshot wound on the right side of his head," Oliver said.

The Lucas County Coroner's Office will perform an autopsy.

Deputies found Schaeffer's vehicle parked in the lot of the Erie County Highway Department and a cell phone that possibly was his in a Dumpster by the Erie County Services Center.

"Deputy (Joe) Pfeiffer told me that he observed Schaeffer walking in the drive of our parking lot at approximately 6:50 a.m.," Oliver said.

Also, Perkins Township Police Sgt. Jeff Musser reported hearing what sounded like a bus "back-firing" when he was outside in the parking lot about 7:05 a.m. Oliver's report indicates Musser "thought that noise came from the county garage."

"I think what he heard of the back-firing was the gunshot," Oliver told the Reflector.

Based on that information, Oliver said he suspects Schaeffer shot himself between 6:50 and 7:05 a.m.

The circumstances of why Schaeffer committed suicide remains a mystery.

"It's a terrible tragedy for the family," Sigsworth said. "The answer to the 'why question' isn't there; it may never be."


Kottage Kat

One taken too soon, too young
Prayers for the family and friends of this young man
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted


so very sad that he felt he had no other way.
many prayers to this family.
May God hold you all in his grace.


My heart breaks for this family. You have been through so much. Nothing will take away this pain but I pray that God wraps his arms around you all. May you know that many of us are with you both in thoughts and prayers. Jonathon is at peace.


Prayers for his friends and family!!

Lloyd Christmas

"they don't know how he came in possession of a firearm or how he obtained it"

Thats the same thing... if you didnt know.

A selfish act by one affects so many others. My prayers go out to the family & friends.

swiss family

I would have to say, that unless you were there and know what he was thinking, then it is presumptuous on your part to call it a "selfish" act.. He might have felt like a total failure, like he disappointed his family, his friends, his neighbors etc, so he might have felt felt that he had let them down in some form, and that life would be better for them if he were not here to continue shaming them.. If that is the case, and no one will ever know for certain, then I would say , in his mind, he did the most "SELFLESS" deed.. he sacrificed his life to end the same he caused them.... Obviously he was in a crisis, and not thinking with rational thoughts, so to call him "selfish" seems to me to be a way of bullying the departed, especially when you have no idea what he was thinking in my opinion

David Deerest.

It is selfish...so many unanswered questions the family will have for years to come, with no answers. No body is trying to bully anyone, other than you. You're the only one I see being a bully here, swissy. Pray the family finds comfort and MOVE ON.


easy for you to say "move on"!!!
never be the same for his family or friends.
prayers to all.

Brock Lee


Yall Make Me Sick

The family is in my thought & prayers!

Cliff Cannon

Nothing could possibly be worse for a parent than to lose a child to suicide. Here's praying for his entire family in this hour of unspeakable grief

Sitting In The ...

When discharged a .380 registers a sound level of 157.7 decibels but Im suppose to believe someone 60 feet away didn't hear a gun shot even if it was slightly muffled. This isn't the whole story and as many have stated my heart goes out the victims and my comments above are my opinions and I mean no disrespect to them. Were not getting the whole story and there has to be a reason for that.


Who said nobody heard it. It says right in the story that another officer thought he heard a bus backfire and that it must have been the sound of the gunshot. Quit trying to make a story where there isn't one.


How sad. Get help if any of you have similar thoughts.


My thought and prayers go out to the mans family and friends. My husband is around that age and me and my family couldn't imagine losing him like this. Its such a horrible tragedy.