Trumbull coroner rules death of Mineral Ridge man was homicide

Staff report


The Trumbull County coroner ruled that Van Blevins, 44, who was found shot to death Feb. 7 in his home on Main Street in Mineral Ridge, died from multiple gunshot wounds. His death has been ruled a homicide.

The Weathersfield Police Department and Trumbull County Homicide Task Force have investigated Blevins’ death as a homicide since they found his body just after 7 p.m. Feb. 7.

Police were called to Blevins’ home by Candace Latimer, 39, of Mines Road in Howland, who said she had just left the home after seeing her husband, Richard N. Latimer, 34, of the Mines address, kill Blevins.

A notice in The Vindicator says services for Blevins will be announced later by Lane Funeral Home, Mineral Ridge Chapel.

Sheriff Paul Monroe had a news conference Saturday to explain that Latimer was later shot to death by the Howland Township police chief, Nick Roberts, and assistant chief Jeff Urso about 9:45 that night in front of the Giant Eagle on East Market Street.

Sgt. Jennifer Carr, who is acting chief while Roberts and Urso are off on paid administrative leave, said the authorities received information that Latimer was headed to the Giant Eagle parking lot to meet someone.

Roberts and Urso spotted a car in the Giant Eagle parking lot matching the description of the one Latimer was driving. They confirmed it was the right car through the license plate.

They approached Latimer, who was armed, and that’s when the shooting took place, Carr said. Witnesses told police Urso and Roberts ordered Latimer several times to drop his gun before they fired their guns at him.

“Those officers did, in fact, have a gun leveled at them,” Monroe said at the news conference. “They had to make a split-second decision, and I give them credit for doing what needed to be done to protect their lives and the lives of innocent bystanders.”

Latimer died early the next morning in St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is overseeing Latimer’s death since it involved police officers.

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