Investigators recover assault-looking .22 rifle
By Ed Runyan
Among the weapons investigators confiscated from the car in which Taemarr Walker rode early Saturday, when he was shot to death by a Warren police officer, is a weapon that looks like a military assault rifle but has much less firepower.
Investigators recovered an HD MP5 .22-caliber long rifle from the vehicle, said Jill DeGreco, public information officer for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the investigation into Walker’s death at 1:50 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of Risher and Palmyra roads in the southwest part of the city.
DelGreco said BCI is not releasing information on whether the rifle or a handgun also recovered from the vehicle had been fired.
“It looks like a military firearm, but if you hold it, you’d know it’s not military grade,” Tyler Matacic, a salesman at J&D Firearms on Parkman Road, said of the rifle in Walker’s car.
A .22-caliber firearm is among the least powerful weapons on the market, he said.
Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, Trumbull County coroner, ruled Walker’s death a homicide as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, but his office is not releasing how many times he was shot. Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.
Walker, 24, of Kenwood Drive Southwest, has a lengthy criminal record. He was sentenced to a year in prison in 2009, but grand juries refused to indict him twice in the past seven months.
DelGreco said BCI is not confirming the identity of the officer who killed Walker, but various news outlets have said it is Patrolman Mike Krafcik, a 20-year Warren police veteran.
Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel said he also won’t release the name of the officer.
Krafcik was checking on an abandoned car on the bend on Risher near Palmyra when a car pulled up nearby containing two people, one of them with a gun. The other person in the car was a female. Krafcik could be heard yelling, “Put your hands up,” just before the shooting took place. Krafcik was not injured. He is off work on paid administrative leave, which is normal procedure.
DelGreco said the length of time it takes for BCI to complete this type of investigation varies, but the length of time it takes to receive toxicology reports and other lab results takes months.
Usually, the results of an investigation such as this are turned over to the county prosecutor, who takes the matter to the grand jury, DelGreco said.
If the grand jury declines to indict the officer, information regarding the case then becomes public, she said.