Police: 'Both subjects had guns'

Cary Ashby • Aug 2, 2018 at 4:00 AM

BELLEVUE — A police detective investigating the suspected murder of a 44-year-old man in Bellevue said “it appears both subjects had guns.”

“We believe both guns were fired. How many rounds — I’m not going to say,” Bellevue Police Sgt. Marc Linder said.

John J. Frost, 58, of 113 Thomas Drive, Apt. H, Bellevue, is charged with murder in connection with the shooting death Sunday of 44-year-old Curtis Gibbs. Frost was detained in a cell at the police station first and then transported to the Sandusky County Jail, where he is being held on a $1 million bond.

Dispatchers received several 9-1-1 calls about gunshots being fired in the hallway of 113 Thomas Drive about 9:43 p.m. Sunday. When officers arrived, they found Gibbs on the ground in the hallway. Medical personnel pronounced him dead at the scene. The Lucas County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy Tuesday morning.

Authorities recovered two handguns. Police have said the preliminary investigation revealed multiple shots were fired from two guns — one of which belonged to the victim.

Gibbs was shot in the upper part of his body, Linder said, but that was hard to tell at the scene because of the amount of blood. The detective also said when he arrived, Gibbs didn’t have a pulse. 

“We don’t think there were any witnesses in the hallway at the time except for those who were involved,” Linder said, referring to Frost and Gibbs.

The suspected murder happened in the hallway of the apartment building where Frost was living. Neighbors in separate interviews Monday with the Reflector said they didn’t recognize Gibbs and they don’t believe he lives in the Bryn Mawr apartments complex, which is in Sandusky County. Linder said authorities are attempting to determine why Gibbs was there.

“That’s something we are trying to figure out,” the sergeant added. 

Detectives with the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office are assisting Linder with the ongoing investigation. Linder said the Sandusky County Drug Task Force used a search warrant at Frost’s apartment early Monday morning, but he didn’t elaborate.

It’s unknown how Gibbs and Frost might know each other. Frost’s neighbors said they heard the shooting could have been the result of a drug deal gone bad.

“I can’t confirm or deny that,” Bellevue Municipal Prosecutor David Claus said Monday.

Police received assistance at the scene from the Sandusky and Huron county sheriff’s offices and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Prior to the shooting, the 9-1-1 caller interviewed by the Reflector visited with her brother for about 20 minutes. After the Port Clinton man left, the woman sat in front of her apartment building, which is next door to 113 Thomas Drive.  

“The victim — I’d never seen him before,” said the caller, who declined to be identified. “The only red flag was he was carrying a black leather bag. … I was seeing things unfold, not knowing what it was leading up to.”

The woman heard gunshots when she was sitting outside.

“All of the sudden I heard ‘bang-bang-bang,’” she said.

Another neighbor, Ron Anderson, said he was asleep when he heard six shots and “a lot of people running around.”

Before police arrived, the 9-1-1 caller said a woman, who likely was in her late 20s to 30s, tried to move the victim’s body from the stairway.

“He was laying on his stomach, on the steps,” the 9-1-1 caller said. “She put his head on her lap. That told me she was kinda connected (to him).”

Linder said the younger woman and Frost were taken in for questioning and during the course of the investigation, detectives need to interview witnesses about what they heard and saw.

Arrangements have been announced for Gibbs, who had attended Bellevue High School and was a member of the Assembly of God in Bellevue.

Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday and from 11 a.m. to noon Friday at Ransom Funeral & Cremation Service, 610 S. Washington St., Castalia, where a service will take place at noon Friday. Burial will be in York Chapel Cemetery, Bellevue, at a later date.

Gibbs’ survivors include his parents, Roy and Kathryn (Teasley) Gibbs; a son, Curtis J.J. Gibbs; daughters, Emily Ann Gibbs and Cassandra Lynn Gibbs; granddaughter, Isabella Ann Gibbs; sisters, Rochell Gibbs and Chandra Hammons; brothers, Everett Joshua Lee Lawson and Richard McClanahan; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

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