Bruce Cadwallader and Encarnacion Pyle, Dispatch Staff Reporters December 23, 2000, Saturday Copyright 2000 The Columbus Dispatch The Columbus Dispatch December 23, 2000, Saturday
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The woman who took her own life Thursday night in a Westerville home was a Columbus police officer, officials said yesterday.
Police officers made brief telephone contact with Officer Terri Tenik, 31, before she cut off all communications with them inside a friend's house on S. Hempstead Road about 6:15 p.m.
Officers found Tenik's body in an upstairs bedroom of the home north of Walnut Street after a three- hour standoff.
A man there, described as a family friend, had called 911 to tell police a distraught woman was inside his home with a gun. The call brought officers from at least three departments -- including Tenik's fellow officers from Columbus.
"She was upset over some personal crises in her life and with her family. She was at the home of a family friend,'' said Westerville Capt. Joe Morbitzer.
Tenik, who lived in a town house in Gahanna, had refused to talk to officers Thursday night. After further attempts to reach her failed, the Delaware Police Tactical Unit went inside and found Tenik dead about 9:30 p.m.
Tenik became an officer with the Columbus Division of Police in 1997. Police declined to talk about Tenik or the suicide last night. Flags at Central Police Headquarters were at half-staff.
Tenik's parents, of Walton Hill, a suburb of Cleveland, declined to talk about their daughter's problems last night. They said she loved being a police officer and that it was a perfect job for her because she enjoyed helping people and had a big heart.
"She had a lot of enthusiasm,'' Joyce Tenik-Chicke said of her daughter. " Her face lit up whenever she talked about her job. She was so very compassionate.'' She said Tenik was dedicated to her family and friends. "If you needed anything, she'd drop what she was doing and come to your aid, '' Tenik-Chicke said.
Besides her mother, Tenik is survived by her father, Michael Tenik, and a sister. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Yurch Funeral Home in Parma, Ohio. firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com