Bruce Cadwallader, Dispatch Staff Reporter December 23, 2000, Saturday Copyright 2000 The Columbus Dispatch The Columbus Dispatch December 23, 2000, Saturday
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Columbus police officers took a pistol from a man but didn't get a chance to pat him down for a second gun that he eventually killed himself with in the back of a police cruiser early yesterday.
Columbus police said Richard S. McDaniel, 28, broke free of the officers as they tried to frisk him, slid into the rear of the cruiser and pushed the barrel of a gun to his forehead in a parking lot at E. Main Street and Gould Road.
His actions kept officers at bay for more than three hours. McDaniel fired the gun into his head shortly after 2 a.m. despite a hostage negotiator's efforts to calm him. He died about 8 a.m. yesterday in Grant Medical Center.
Franklin County Coroner Brad Lewis said McDaniel's family requested no autopsy so that his organs could be donated.
The whole thing began about 10:30 Thursday night, when police stopped McDaniel inside a Dairy Mart at 2600 E. Main St. to question him about a nearby shooting. Clerks at the store said that police at the time told McDaniel that he matched the description of a man involved in a robbery and fatal shooting.
That occurred at 744 S. Chesterfield Rd. Police say Donta Fish, 21, was shot in his side and stabbed in the groin during a robbery inside his home. Others who were in the apartment at the time and not injured said Fish knew McDaniel and let him into the apartment. McDaniel was accused of shooting Fish, then holding Fish's girlfriend and her stepbrother in the apartment at gunpoint and taking $30 before leaving. Fish was listed in serious condition in Grant last night.
Police tried to frisk McDaniel in the Dairy Mart, but he kept saying, " Don't touch me, don't touch me,'' a clerk at the store said Thursday night. The officers, whose names weren't disclosed by police yesterday, then ushered him outside to the waiting cruiser, where the problem unfolded.
Police negotiators and patrol officers tried to talk McDaniel out of the car, but they said he was uncooperative and violent. At one point, he kicked out a window, and he repeatedly tried to light a crack cocaine pipe, they said.
Police surrounded the vehicle, evacuated the neighborhood and parked an armored vehicle on one side of the cruiser. McDaniel fired the fatal shot at 2:19 a.m. As McDaniel held the gun to his head, one officer used pepper spray on him, but he seemed to have no reaction to it, police spokesman Sgt. Earl W. Smith said.
"He was very agitated, very angry, kind of flighty, for lack of a better term,'' Smith said. "They talked and talked to him, trying to save his life, but it was just going nowhere.''
One of the negotiators saw the man shoot himself, Smith said. "It's having a tremendous impact'' on the officer, Smith said.
A dual police investigation began yesterday. One group of detectives is working on the robbery and shooting at Chesterfield Road, and the patrol division is interviewing officers who were at the Dairy Mart to see whether regulations were followed.
Court records show McDaniel was found guilty once of domestic violence and served six months in prison for receiving stolen property. A 1998 felony charge of drug possession was reduced to attempted possession, a misdemeanor, and McDaniel was released from the county jail for time already served. Dispatch Staff Reporter Kirk Richards contributed to this story. firstname.lastname@example.org