Toledo police officer shot, killed in standoff; DeWine orders flags lowered

Danger on the road. Blue flasher on the police car at night.
Danger on the road. Blue flasher on the police car at night.

A Toledo police officer shot Monday in the line of duty has died of his injuries.

Officer Brandon Stalker, 24, was struck by a bullet during a standoff with a suspect who vandalized and set fire to Rosary Cathedral earlier in the day, Toledo Police Chief George Kral said during a Monday night news conference, the Toledo Blade reported.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday night ordered U.S. and Ohio flags in Lucas County, the Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center and Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus flown at half-staff until sunset the day of Stalker’s funeral. Flags at all other public buildings and grounds throughout the state may lower flags at their discretion, the governor’s order stated.

Kral said officers approached the suspect around 3:50 p.m., when the man brandished a firearm and ran inside a home on Fulton Street near the city’s Old West End. Police surrounded the house, and negotiators and SWAT team members also responded. After officers fired tear gas, the suspect came out of the house with two guns and started shooting at the officers, the Blade reported.

Stalker was hit with one bullet, and the suspect also was shot. Both were taken to Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center, where Kral said Stalker died of his injuries.

In a press release, Toledo police identified the suspect as Christopher Harris, 27. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. The police said that while the investigation is still ongoing, it has been confirmed that multiple officers fired their weapons at Harris, and all officers will be placed on paid administrative leave, per collective bargaining agreements.

Stalker is the second Toledo Police Department officer to die in the line of duty in less than a year.

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Officer Anthony Dia was shot and killed July 4 after responding to a report of an intoxicated man walking around a home improvement store parking lot. Witnesses said the man walked away from Dia, who had responded to check on him, and then turned around and fired one shot from a handgun that struck Dia in the chest. Dia later died of his injuries at a Toledo hospital, the Blade reported. Kral told the newspaper Dia was wearing body armor, but that the bullet struck a vulnerable area.

The suspect in Dia’s death later was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, WTVG-TV reported at the time.

Police said that Stalker, who joined the Toledo Police Department in July 2018, was classmates with Dia.

Stalker was the 32nd Toledo police officer to be killed in the line of duty.

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