Police: Domestic issues triggered deaths of 2 Trumbull County men


Latimer 911 Call

Audio Clip

911 call by Candace Latimer saying her husband had just killed another man in Mineral Ridge

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

MINERAL RIDGE

Police from several agencies are piecing together details from two crime scenes after a Howland Township man died in a shootout with police Tuesday night just hours after authorities said he killed another man in Weathersfield Township.

The use of Facebook by a woman may have played a part in the killings.

Weathersfield Police Chief Michael Naples Jr. confirmed late Tuesday that Van Blevins, 44, of Main Street, Mineral Ridge, was found shot to death in his home shortly after a woman’s 7 p.m. 911 call.

The Mahoning County Coroner’s office also confirmed Wednesday that Richard N. Latimer, 34, of Mines Road, Howland, was the man who Howland police officers shot to death outside the Giant Eagle on East Market Street about 10 p.m.

Latimer, who also had a Girard address, first was taken to ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital. He was transferred to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was pronounced dead at 3:13 a.m. Wednesday.

Dr. Joseph Ohr, Mahoning County forensic pathologist, said the cause of Latimer’s death was multiple gunshot wounds sustained in an altercation with police.

Latimer’s wife, Candace Latimer, 39, of Mines Road, called 911 about 7 p.m. Tuesday, saying she had just fled from Blevins’ house and was at a Taco Bell in Austintown. She said she had just seen her husband shoot Blevins.

“My husband shot another man,” she told the dispatcher. “My husband tried to kidnap me and my daughter. He had a gun, ma’am.” She added a short time later, “I saw him [Latimer] shoot him [Blevins], and he made me and my daughter leave the house.”

But problems involving Latimer began much earlier Tuesday, according to a Howland police report. Candace Latimer told a daughter living in New Mexico to call Trumbull County 911 at 1:14 a.m. Tuesday regarding a domestic incident involving her husband.

An officer met Candace and Richard Latimer in the driveway of the Mines Road home and learned Richard was unhappy because Candace was talking to another man, police said. The Latimers spoke separately to officers.

A determination was made to arrest Richard, but he fled on foot toward the Great East Plaza in Niles and got away, a police report says. Candace said Richard was upset because she was talking to an old friend on Facebook.

She said Richard took her cellphone, head-butted her and threatened to kill her. She was told she and the 9-year-old girl should leave the home. A warrant was issued for Richard’s arrest.

At 6:59 p.m. Tuesday, Candace called 911 again, this time from the Taco Bell on state Route 46 in Austintown, saying Richard had just shot Blevins. She and her daughter fled from Blevins’ house, she said.

When Weathersfield Township police arrived at the house on Main Street, across from St. Mary Church, they found Blevins dead. They did not find Richard Latimer.

Candace told police she was inside the house when Richard broke in through a rear window and attempted to kidnap her and her daughter.

The home on Main Street is a short distance from Mineral Ridge High School, where a high-school basketball game was underway. Police locked down the school for about an hour to protect the people there, Naples said Wednesday.

The lockdown went smoothly, and the game proceeded, Naples said.

About 8 p.m., police used global positioning technology to identify the location of a cellphone they suspected Richard Latimer was using. The location was Sharon Road near Howland High School, according to communications between officers and county police dispatchers.

About 9:42 p.m., police reported there were shots fired outside the Giant Eagle grocery store on Warren-Sharon Road, and Weathersfield police responded to assist Howland police.

Agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation were notified to come to Howland at 9:52 p.m., when radio traffic indicated that shots had been fired, and a suspect had been “incapacitated.”

Jill DelGreco, a spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, said BCI is investigating Richard Latimer’s death at the request of Howland police.

Latimer had a handgun, she said. The two officers were not injured, and no one was hit by the gunfire except the man who died, she said.

Naples said his department and the Trumbull County Homicide Task Force are investigating Blevins’ death.

Attempts to ask additional questions of the Howland police were unsuccessful Wednesday. All questions were referred to Township Administrator Darlene St. George, who said the two Howland officers are on leave “to deal with the trauma” of the incident.

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