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Deputy wounded in shootout



Published: Tue, July 10, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The injured officer was hoping to go home from the hospital today.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A chance to earn spending money landed a 15-year-old in the middle of a police shootout that wounded a Trumbull County deputy sheriff.

Bradley Goldner of Warren said he went to 5141 Parkman Road about 3:15 p.m. Monday with a friend to move a refrigerator and stove for Phyllis Harnar, who lives at the home with her son, Jerry Harnar, 58.

"We pull in the drive -- and all of sudden Mrs. Harnar runs out screaming and telling us to call 911," Bradley said, wiping the sweat from his forehead. "She had a big bruise on her arm. She had scratches and bruises on her."

Bradley said his friend called 911 and soon two township police officers arrived. Warren Township Police Chief Thomas Rush and Lt. Donald Bishop said that moments later, Harnar fired three shots at the officers. The officers were not injured.

"I never expected anything like this," Bradley said. "I just was trying to earn some money."

What happened: Police said Harnar was armed with a .22-caliber rifle. Bishop said Mrs. Harnar, 85, told police that her son pressured her into buying the rifle for him about two weeks ago.

"As soon as we found out that he fired shots, we called other area police departments for backup," Bishop said.

The Trumbull County Sheriff's Department and its special response team, and officers from Warren city, Champion Township and the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded.

Numerous police officers surrounded the small, one-story home. A sheriff's department sharpshooter could be seen on the ground across the street from the house.

Neighbors living near Harnar's home were evacuated and police closed about a mile of Parkman Road. Gas company officials were called to the home to turn off gas in case Harnar attempted to set the house on fire. Several firetrucks were also called.

"I used a megaphone to call to him, but he wouldn't respond," Bishop said. "I called him on the telephone, but he would pick it up and hang up. I couldn't get any type of dialogue with him."

Police tried to talk to Harnar for about three hours before they attempted to enter the home.

Around 6:15 p.m. police fired tear gas into the home and threw several "flash-bang" grenades, which made a loud noise inside the house. Deputies then attempted to go into the home to make an arrest.

Harnar saw the deputies coming and fired a shot, police said. A bullet hit Deputy Mike Davis in the right thigh.

How deputy is doing: Davis, 31, with the sheriff's department for six years, was in satisfactory condition in Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital.

"I'm just happy no one was seriously hurt," he said this morning from his hospital bed as lab technicians prepared him for surgery today.

Davis said he hoped to go home today or Wednesday at the latest after what he described as outpatient surgery to repair his wound. He said he hasn't been able to sleep in the hospital.

Moments after Davis was shot, deputies were able to go in and grab Harnar, arresting him, Bishop said.

Harnar is being held on three counts of felonious assault. He was to be arraigned at 1 p.m. today, Bishop said. The state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation began probing the police shooting Monday.

"We have had problems with Harnar in the past but nothing this serious," Rush said.

"We have not arrested him on criminal charges, but we have taken him to the mental ward at the hospital before," Bishop said.

Bishop added that Mrs. Harnar told police her son recently forced her to write a letter to the Russian government, asking them to "kill former President Bill Clinton because there are too many trucks" on Parkman Road.

What neighbors said: Residents who live near the Harnar home said they did not know him.

"This is usually a very quiet area," said Jamie Carr.

Many of the residents said the disturbance caused them to be late getting home.

"I went to the grocery store and then couldn't get home," said Kathleen Hayes, who lives near the Harnar home. "The police wouldn't let me back home and I was worried that my sister may be hurt."




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