03/27/2006

OH officers shoot suspect; Man reportedly pointed gun at police hours after stealing taxi

Bill Bush and Alayna DeMartini, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Police officers from two Franklin County townships fatally shot a man in front of a Mifflin Township house yesterday after he allegedly stole an Acme Taxi at gunpoint earlier in the day.

Tracey Price, 33, of 235 Landover Dr., was killed about 4:30 p.m. on Mecca Road.

The officers who shot the man were identified as Clinton Township Officer Terry Phillips and Mifflin Township Officer Michael Bolock.

Lakissha Wilkerson, a neighbor, said police yelled for Price to step out of the house with his hands up.

Price walked out holding a handgun in one hand and raised both hands in the air, Wilkerson said.

When Price began bringing down the hand that carried the gun, and police fired three shots, she said.

"They just shoot nowadays," Wilkerson said. "They shoot first and ask questions later."

A news release issued late yesterday by Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes said that Price refused to drop the weapon after being told several times to do so, and that "officers were forced to fire their weapons when Tracey Price pointed his weapon at officers."

At about 12:35 p.m., Price had carjacked a cab in Gahanna, said Chief Deputy Steve Martin, of the Franklin County sheriff's office.

"The cab driver jumped out of the vehicle, got away," Martin said.

But the cab ran over the driver's foot, and Price fired a shot during the incident.

Price eventually drove the cab to 2452 Mecca Rd. and parked in front of the house. He put a beer can on the hood of the taxi and walked unsteadily into the house, said Tyrone Taylor, who lives on Mecca Road.

A caller to police reported that a man got out of the car carrying a beer and a shotgun, according to tape of a dispatcher's conversation with officers responding to the scene. Officers who arrived reported a man with a gun had barricaded himself in the house. Minutes later, they reported shots fired.

Bolock, the first officer on the scene, "called for backup, got our Clinton (Township) officers over, and things evidently deteriorated from that point," Mifflin Township Police Chief Michael Pocock said.

Price was taken to Grant Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 5:12 p.m.

On Jan. 26, Price was arrested by Gahanna police on charges of aggravated robbery after he allegedly entered the Holiday Inn Express, 460 Waterbury Court, at 2:05 a.m., implied he had a rifle or shotgun and fled with cash. Court records about the outcome of the case were unavailable last night.

This was the second officer-involved shooting of the weekend in central Ohio.

Late Friday, 22-year-old Shannon Preston was shot by a Columbus police officer who was working security in the parking lot of Obvious, 2467 E. Dublin-Granville Rd.

Preston was one of three people inside a car that police pursued after seeing a gun fired inside the vehicle. Police said Preston was shot during an encounter with an officer after fleeing the car.

Preston, of 1001 E. 22nd Ave., was in critical condition last night at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

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