Ohio cop killed responding to disturbance

Officer killed on duty remembered as "one of the best"


ELYRIA, Ohio — A man accused of exposing himself to a neighbor's child fatally shot a responding police officer and was killed by backup officers, authorities said Tuesday.

Elyria patrolman James Kerstetter, 43, was shot Monday night when he entered the home of gunman Ronald Palmer, 58, authorities said. Kerstetter managed to call for help on his radio before dying.

A woman had called 911 to report that a neighbor had exposed himself to her child and kicked in a window. By the time Kerstetter arrived, Palmer was back in his house.

Other officers who arrived after Kerstetter was shot fired at and killed Palmer, who had run outside. They then tried to treat Kerstetter, who was taken to EMH Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead, Police Chief Duane Whitely said.

Kerstetter was on the force for 15 years and was a sheriff's deputy before that, Whitely said. He leaves a wife and three daughters.

"It's terrible," Whitely said. "He was a top-notch officer, a friend to everyone, and he loved being a cop."

Palmer had been charged last year with unlawful restraint, aggravated menacing and disorderly conduct in a conflict involving his wife, court records show. Police said at the time that Palmer kept the woman in her home against her will and threatened to kill himself.

As a condition of bond, Palmer was required to stay 500 feet from his wife and ordered to get a psychological evaluation. It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether Palmer had ever been evaluated.

Palmer pleaded no contest to persistent disorderly conduct in September, the records show. He paid a fine and received a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail.

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