TOLEDO, Ohio (AP/WJW) — An officer who was responding to a disturbance call in a Toledo store parking lot was shot and killed early Saturday morning by an intoxicated man holding a beer, police said.
Toledo Officer Anthony Dia, 26, was shot in the chest just after midnight in the parking lot of a Home Depot at 1035 W. Alexis Rd., and later pronounced dead at a hospital, Police Chief George Kral said at a news conference.
According to officials, Officer Dia was the first officer on scene and attempted to contact the subject, who was believed to be intoxicated.
The suspect, only described as a 57-year-old white male, produced a handgun and opened fire, striking Officer Dia in the chest. Despite his wounds, Officer Dia was able to return fire as the man fled.
Additional officers arrived at the scene of the shooting and set up a perimeter looking for the suspect.
Witnesses stated that they had observed the suspect flee into a wooded area. A drone and a K-9 unit provided assistance with the search.
At some point, officers heard a single gunshot coming from the woods, Kral said. The gunman was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the head around 3:15 a.m.
Witnesses confirmed that the deceased man was the person who had shot Officer Dia.
“Today is a sad day for the City of Toledo, it’s a sad day for the Toledo Police Department, and most importantly it’s a sad day for the family, friends, loved ones, and fellow officers of Ofc. Anthony Dia, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting his city tonigh,” Toledo Police Chief George Kral said.
Officer Dia joined the Toledo Police Department July 27, 2018. He is the 31st Toledo Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said he was at Toledo Hospital where Dia was taken after the shooting.
“I will never forget the sight of Officer Dia being wheeled out of the hospital on a gurney, his body wrapped in an American flag, flanked by about 30 Toledo police officers, saluting and weeping,” the mayor said.
Neither Kral nor Kapszukiewicz took questions during the news conference. More information was expected to be provided at another news conference Monday.
Governor Mike DeWine has ordered that flags at the Ohio statehouse and in Lucas County be flown at half staff beginning Sunday. He has ordered they remain there through his funeral service on Tuesday.
DeWine also issued a statement of condolences to Officer Dia’s family and colleagues with the Toledo Police Department. It reads:
“Fran and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death last night of Toledo Police Officer Anthony Dia in the line of duty. We extend our sympathy to his wife and 2-year-old child, his other family members, and his colleagues in the Toledo Police Department. To honor the life and service of Officer Dia, I have ordered that the flags in Lucas County and at the Statehouse be lowered to half staff beginning tomorrow and through his funeral service.”
Police departments across the state have also issued their condolences to the Dia family and the Toledo Police Department.