Warrant issued, mental health check made for man days before Clark County deputy killed

South Charleston man was wanted in Greene County for firearm charge.

Two days before a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy was killed at Harmony Estates Mobile Home Park on Sunday, an arrest warrant was issued for the man also killed in the incident, and relatives of that man called 911 for a welfare check, expressing “significant concerns” for his mental safety, sheriff’s call records show.

Cole White, 27, of South Charleston, was among three people who died in the Sunday incident that started with gunfire then evolved into an hours-long standoff with more shots, ending with the mobile home where it began being destroyed by fire.

Details on the shooting, including how White, Clark County Sheriff’s deputy Matthew Yates, 41, or White’s mother, Jodie Arbuckle, 47, died have not been released by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Two relatives of White, his great uncle and brother, said in separate interviews with the Springfield News-Sun that White shot Arbuckle then later shot Yates as the deputy responded.

White did not show up for court in July on a charge of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle from an August 2021 Yellow Springs incident, according to Greene County Common Pleas Court records.

According to a Yellow Springs Police Department incident report, White was found sleeping in his car with a gun in his pocket on Aug. 3 after police received a complaint from two women the same day about a man who approached them in Glen Helen Nature Reserve and offered them alcohol.

Both women reported sitting with the man – who told them his name was Matthew Slaw – and kissing him, but both said they grew fearful after he began forcefully touching them and used a knife to cut into one of their bags, according to the report.

Police found the man asleep in a vehicle matching the women’s descriptions around 10 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2021, where police say he appeared intoxicated upon awakening.

The vehicle was registered to White, who possessed a revoked concealed weapons permit, according to the report. Police noticed the man, later identified as White, was wearing a holster, and White told police he had a gun. Police also found a few knives in White’s vehicle after taking him into custody.

After White failed to appear in the Greene County Common Pleas Court, a warrant was issued for his arrest on July 22, according to court records.

On that same day, White’s mother called the sheriff’s office to ask if she could speak to a deputy about concerns with her son. She said she and other relatives of White were at the courthouse for the hearing he did not go to.

A couple of friends of White went to his house to check on him and drop off food, peeked into the window, and saw White lying on the bathroom floor and appearing “very weak,” appearing to also have a gun.

Arbuckle said White was “having a mental breakdown,” according to 911 records.

“I don’t know if he’s in a suicidal situation right now,” Arbuckle told the dispatcher. “He’s never been violent. But something has happened in the last year, two years. And I’m afraid if police go in there with guns ablazing … I don’t know.”

Other relatives of White made wellness calls to the sheriff’s office for him over the past few years.

A man who identified himself as White’s step-dad contacted the sheriff’s office on June 16 this year to ask for a welfare check on White, who had not been in contact with relatives for more than a week.

All the lights were on in White’s house and his car had not moved from the driveway in days, the caller said.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

A woman who identified herself as White’s aunt made a call to dispatchers in January 2019 that White reported to loved ones not being able to sleep, not knowing what day it was, and not remembering the last time he ate anything. White had no diagnosed mental health conditions, the caller said, but his relatives were worried about his well-being.

The caller said White left his mother’s house that January 2019 evening with a gun in his pocket, which he showed his mother when he left.

“At this point, I’m scared to go talk to him because he pretty much told us ‘leave me alone,’” White’s aunt said. “And I’m scared to do nothing.”

White was previously charged with criminal trespassing following a March 23 incident at Midwest Express where staff there told him to leave and contacted the Logan County Sheriff’s Office when he refused. The case has since been dismissed.

Arbuckle told dispatchers in her July 22 call that the incident happened at White’s former workplace, from which he was suspended.

On Sunday, a 911 call was placed with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office from White’s neighbors saying a woman had entered his mobile home and gunfire was heard. Deputy Yates and other deputies went to the scene and reports of gunfire were reported.

An hours-long standoff took place outside White’s mobile home before Yates was recovered from the scene and a fire erupted in the mobile home.

Relatives of Arbuckle and White said the two remained in the mobile home until after the fire was extinguished. Their causes of death are under investigation.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting. No details about the incident, including what kind of guns were used, have been released by Ohio BCI, which routinely investigates shootings involving law enforcement.

Another deputy was injured Sunday, but not by gunfire, during an attempt to rescue Yates. The special operations team member was taken to a local hospital but is now recovering at home.

Deputy Yates’ funeral visitation will be held on Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. at the First Christian Church at 3638 Middle Urbana Road. His funeral service will be held at noon Aug. 1 at the church, with burial to follow at Ferncliff Cemetery, according to Littleton and Rue Funeral Home.

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