Father Denies That Dead Man Held Pistol
by Lawrence Budd, The Dayton Daily News
West Alexandria, Ohio -- A police officer fatally shot a Preble
County man Friday night during a drug raid at a farmhouse in West
Alexandria, prompting outrage from his family and an investigation by
the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.
Clayton J. Helriggle, 23, was killed by a single shotgun blast fired
by a Lewisburg police officer, according to the Preble County
"The officer encountered Mr. Helriggle holding a pistol and the
officer fired one round from a shotgun," said Preble Sheriff's Capt.
But Helriggle's father, Michael Helriggle, said his son was carrying
a glass of water, not a gun. He also said police officers involved in
the raid ran around "high-fiving each other" as he and his wife
watched from a nearby field.
"They were so busy celebrating and everything. It was like a carnival
to them," Helriggle said. "They all got to use their new guns and
Simpson said, "That's just not true."
The Montgomery Sheriff's Office has begun an investigation.
Helriggle was coming down the back stairs of a home at 1282 Ohio 503
S. about 6:45 p.m. when he was shot by the police officer, part of a
multi-agency force serving a search warrant at the home, Simpson said.
The officer, who has not been identified, was already inside the back
door of the house, Simpson said. The officers entered the home after
announcing themselves, but without knocking, at 6:45 p.m. Friday, to
serve a warrant seeking drugs suspected in trafficking involving
another resident of the house. The raid capped a "short-term in-
vestigation," Simpson said.
Preble and Montgomery County authorities returned to the home
Saturday and seized a small amount of marijuana, an unspecified about
of pills and drug paraphernalia, according to a Preble County
sheriff's press release.
"No other shots were fired at anybody else," Simpson said, although
he said shots were fired at pit bulls inside the house. It was
unclear whether the dogs were injured.
The arm of another man living in the house was injured during the
raid. Officials were unsure if he was wounded by shrapnel from the
shotgun blast or flying glass. Helriggle's father said the man had
been hit by pellets from the shotgun.
Clayton Helriggle is the first person killed by law enforcement in
Preble County in five years, Simpson said.
Michael Helriggle said his son's death could have been avoided had
police knocked at the door, rather than bursting through in SWAT
attire. "There was no reason for them to come in there that way," he
Michael Helriggle said Clayton worked in a family garage-door business.
He also enjoyed playing guitar and rock climbing in Kentucky's Red
River Gorge, his father said.
"I lost my son over this, " he said. "It's turned my family upside
down. He absolutely wasn't a drug dealer."
Funeral arrangements will be handled by Barnes Funeral Home in Eaton.