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YOUNGSTOWN Man sues state troopers over highway shooting



Published: Fri, August 23, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The lawsuit says Harton was running away when troopers shot him.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Youngstown man is suing Ohio State Highway Patrol officers who shot him during a standoff along an interstate highway near Columbus.

Lawyers for Hermando C. Harton Jr., whose listed address is on Lansdowne Boulevard, filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court, Youngstown. It seeks at least $150,000 from four patrol lieutenants and unspecified punitive damages from the troopers who shot him.

The patrol personnel are from the Bucyrus and Mansfield posts.

Suspect in slaying

Harton is suspected of killing his wife, stealing a sheriff's vehicle and keeping troopers at bay along Interstate 71 for more than four hours Aug. 2.

Authorities say Elizabeth Harton, 27, was found dead in the couple's home Aug. 2, about the same time Hermando Harton is believed to have fired gunshots at deputies at a truck stop some 45 miles north. He stole a police sport-utility vehicle and led troopers on a 30-mile chase and standoff that ended when he was shot.

The lawsuit, filed by Atty. Sarah Thomas Kovoor of Warren, says Harton had gotten out of the vehicle and was moving "rapidly away from the highway, over some fields and toward some neighboring woods."

Sgt. Brian J. Darby of the patrol's Bucyrus post and Trooper Michael D. Kemmer of the Mansfield post fired at Harton as he ran, striking him twice in the back and once in the right arm.

The suit says they were using high-powered rifles with scopes that should have enabled them to see that his back was to them and he was not pointing a weapon at them.

The shooters are accused of attempting to murder Harton, while the four lieutenants are accused of negligence in training and supervising them.

No charges have been filed against Harton, who graduated from Ursuline High School in 1981, but Kovoor said she will represent him if charges are eventually filed.

bjackson@vindy.com




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