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Man killed by Boardman officers shot first, police say

Published: Fri, July 5, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

‘This is over something stupid, over child support,’ woman tells 911 dispatcher

By Denise Dick



Daniel A. Fitton Jr., 30, fired once inside his apartment and once at police outside before two officers returned fire, killing him, authorities said.

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Police were called about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday to the four-plex apartment at 817 Cook Ave. where Fitton lived with his girlfriend.

The woman’s daughter called 911, saying Fitton had a gun inside the apartment with her mother and two children. The daughter told the 911 dispatcher that Fitton was threatening to kill himself and threatening her mother.

“He’s been drinking,” the woman told the dispatcher. “This is over something stupid, over child support. He’s been going crazy all day.”

When police arrived, Fitton had barricaded himself inside the apartment and had a gun to his head, Police Chief Jack Nichols said.

The apartment’s other occupants had left the apartment before police arrived.

Nichols said police called Fitton 69 times to try to negotiate with him.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains said that Fitton either hung up or spoke incoherently on each of those calls.

Fitton fired his weapon once while inside the apartment, Gains said, and after a couple of hours, officers saw him break the window screen, then saw a muzzle flash, indicating he fired out the window at police.

At that point, two officers returned fire, discharging one round each. At least one of the shots struck Fitton in the upper chest, killing him. Police deployed tear gas inside the apartment after the shooting because they didn’t know Fitton’s condition and wanted to protect against Fitton shooting officers when they entered the unit, Gains said.

“It is a plausible theory that it was suicide by cop,” Gains said. “He did make threats.”

The two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with department policy. Nichols declined to identify them Thursday.

But Gains said his preliminary examination of the incident points to a justified shooting. Once Fitton fired at police, he became a major threat that had to be removed, he said. Fitton became a threat to police and to the public, he added.

“I commend Boardman police for their restraint and their training,” said Gains, a former police officer.

Nichols said the officers will have the opportunity to speak with a doctor. That would have happened Thursday if it hadn’t been a holiday.

Lori Cramer, Fitton’s girlfriend, said in a Facebook message that she wishes police would have handled the situation differently. She says she wants answers.

“I just wanted to say that if someone who is suicidal should be dealt with in a way where they are not killed,” she wrote. “Dan had issues and that was very clear. The police won’t tell me much except to say he was shooting at them out the window. I seen one small bullet hole in the closet door which I assume came from his gun..I was across the street and heard and seen and didn’t see him shoot out the window and they had a shooter across the street...to me they could of probably shot to wound him and get him help. I’m not blaming anyone but you have a guy who was clearly asking for help and now he’s dead. Leaving a 2 yr old little girl [Payton Julianna] at home and me with a huge mess to clean up. I want him back but that can’t happen. I want answers and the truth but I’m not getting that either. He needed help that’s all he needed.”

Jim and Treisha Brumbaugh live in the apartment building next to where the shooting occurred. Jim went out on the porch Wednesday night to have a cigarette and found his street lined with police and emergency vehicles.

“I looked over there and saw two police officers with their guns drawn,” he said. “That was scary.”

He and Treisha didn’t know what was happening. Treisha said she assumed it was something drug-related. They watched what was happening until a police officer spotted them and advised them to go inside their home.

Jim then watched from inside and saw the officers fire and a flash inside the apartment.

This marks the second time in a month where violence has touched the neighborhood that the Brumbaughs say until then had been quiet in the three years they’ve lived there.

On June 4, police were called to a Moyer Avenue apartment where a woman was charged with stabbing her boyfriend to death. Moyer runs behind Cook, and the apartment building where the June stabbing occurred is behind the apartment where police shot Fitton, the couple said.

“We’re moving,” Jim Brumbaugh said.

“That’s two signs — we need to go,” Treisha agreed.


1excel(1309 comments)posted 3 years ago

If Daniel A. Fitton Jr wasn't in possession of a gun he would still be alive. LETS GET ALL OF THE GUNS OFF THE STREETS!

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2vinglass(295 comments)posted 3 years ago


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3NoBS(2841 comments)posted 3 years ago

UNTIL all the Daniel Fittons are off the street, don't even THINK about taking my guns!!

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4snworb56(53 comments)posted 3 years ago

Crimson 1012...... Well said. This family did nothing for this person that needed help BEFORE the police had to get involved. She wasn't too worried about him then. An unfortunate ending but sounds justified. Why are the police always "guilty" until proven otherwise?

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5excel(1309 comments)posted 3 years ago

Just having a gun in an unstable household where alcohol and or drugs are consumed is very dangerous. People sober up after drinking and come down off drug highs but they don't come back from the grave after being shot. LET US GET ALL OF THE GUNS OFF THE STREETS!

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6redvert(2240 comments)posted 3 years ago

Ok excel, since you want all guns off the streets, why don't you set up a roadside stand in downtown youngstown with a big sign "Turn in your guns here." At the end of the day let us know how many you receive.

ps: If someone does turn one in for laughs that is unusuable, you will probably be relieved of it at gunpoint before the day is over!

You are living in a fairy tale world!!!

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7excel(1309 comments)posted 3 years ago

Your rights, my rights and everybody's rights. The right to live reigns supreme. LET'S GET ALL OF THE GUNS OFF THE STREETS!

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8Mooneygrad72(42 comments)posted 3 years ago

"Turn in your guns here." Hey it works in California. Offer the people gas or food cards and one is amazed at the number of guns surrendered. Recently, a community, south of LA by 50 miles, received over 500 guns and ammo. The police needed to get more food/gas cards to keep up with the demand. Perhaps YPD, BPD, Warren PD and a few others should go together and try it. Even 1-2 guns off the streets help.
** Side note ** Yesterday, 6 year old shot himself in the thigh and foot, when he discovered a gun (felon owned) in his house and wanted to see it work. The community is very quite, and well established. It happens EVERY WHERE..

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9NoBS(2841 comments)posted 3 years ago

Do you gun-phobes really think everything will be peaches and cream if guns are removed from society? Let me help you out - it will be rule by the biggest, meanest SOB, and who's going to stand up for your or my rights? We'll have people learning the one-punch kill, and let's not forget knives, ball bats, rocks, and everything else you can use for a weapon. Guns are an equalizer - you don't have to be a hulking brute to defend yourself if you have a gun.

Now, let's take a realistic look at gun crimes. I encourage extra-tough penalties for the use of a gun in the commission of a crime. Enough jail time so it's actually a deterrent. Sitting around your own house, being waited on hand and foot, isn't a punishment. Being the fifth person crammed into a 2-person jail cell is.

Punish the criminal - not the law-abiding citizens!!

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10excel(1309 comments)posted 3 years ago

It is criminal what guns are doing to peoples lives! LET'S GET ALL OF THE GUNS OFF THE STREETS!

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11vinglass(295 comments)posted 3 years ago

Section 8 housing .... turning Boardman into the new Southside..

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12excel(1309 comments)posted 3 years ago

Or what mrrightsometimes? Law enforcement keeps things under control. Guns on the streets create mayhem. LET'S GET ALL OF THE GUNS OFF THE STREETS!

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13USMC0331(152 comments)posted 3 years ago


It is criminal what "people" are doing to peoples lives.

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14LJFboardman(1 comment)posted 3 years ago

Really disturbed by the girlfriend's use of the word "seen" and all around lack of knowledge on how to form complete sentences.

"I seen one small bullet......"
"I was across the street and heard and seen...."

See. Saw. Have seen.

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