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WARREN TOWNSHIP SHOOTOUT Defendant to be his own lawyer



Published: Wed, July 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The deputy wounded in the standoff underwent surgery.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Jerry Harnar, accused of shooting a Trumbull County deputy sheriff, told a municipal court judge that he intends to serve as his own attorney.

Then, he requested that his jailers get him his favorite breakfast food.

"I want bananas and milk," Harnar demanded Tuesday, as he was escorted from the courtroom at the county jail after his video arraignment.

Harnar, 58, of 5141 Parkman Road, Warren Township, pleaded innocent Tuesday to three counts of felonious assault. Township Police Chief Thomas Rush said Harnar shot at two township deputies and then held police at bay for three hours Monday before shooting Deputy Mike Davis in the leg. Davis remains in satisfactory condition in Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital.

Judge Terry Ivanchak, who saw Harnar through the video screen, set a $1 million bond.

"You are a danger to yourself and to others," Judge Ivanchak said.

Defendant's response: Harnar, who kept shaking his head "no" during the arraignment, told the judge that he did not want to talk to a public defender.

"I am going to be my own attorney just like Traficant," Harnar said loudly, referring to James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, D-17th.

The judge asked Harnar to meet with a public defender. "Just listen to what they have to say, OK?" Judge Ivanchak added.

A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday. Harnar is being held at the county jail. If convicted on the charges, Harnar could face up to 30 years in prison.

Davis, 31, who has been with the sheriff's department for six years, underwent surgery Tuesday to remove the bullet from his leg. Davis said he hoped to go home from the hospital late Tuesday or sometime today.

Davis said he feels good and is eager to get back to work.

Rush and Lt. Donald Bishop said they have had problems with Harnar in the past, including taking him to a hospital for psychiatric care. Bishop said he doesn't know why Harnar became upset Monday.

What happened: "Mr. Harnar had told his mother earlier on Monday that he wanted the refrigerator taken out of the house because it was making too much noise," Rush said.

"His mother had hired two people to come and get the refrigerator but before they could move it, he started assaulting his mother."

Mrs. Harnar ran outside her house around 3:15 p.m. Monday. The two people who had come to move the refrigerator were in the driveway and called 911, police said.

When Warren Township police arrived, Harnar fired at the two officers with his .22-caliber rifle, police said. The officers were not injured.Township police called other nearby agencies and several police officers sat outside Harnar's home for three hours.

"We tried to speak with him, but it didn't work because he wouldn't talk to us," Bishop said. "His mother said that he wouldn't talk on the phone because he felt the phone has electricity inside it and it would hurt him."

Rush said police officers felt that Harnar was "not going to give up."

"We were told that he had ammunition in every room of the house," Rush said. "He was in this for the long haul."

At 6:15 p.m. police fired tear gas into the home and threw several "flash-bang" grenades. Deputies then attempted to go in to make an arrest.

Harnar saw the deputies and began to fire, police said. Davis, who was leading the deputies, was shot outside Harnar's door.

"Mr. Harnar had ammunition in every room, and we learned after going into the house that he had fired several shots at the walls," said Chief Ernie Cook of the sheriff's department.

"Mr. Harnar was under a blanket to protect him from the tear gas and he had a lot of his worldly possessions, like his money, right with him."

Cook said that Harnar gave police a statement about the deputy's shooting. "He said that he wouldn't have shot him if 'the s-- of a b---- didn't try to break down [his] door,'" Cook said.




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