Identity of man fatally shot by Fairfield police released

Caleb Surface (Source: Facebook/caleb.surface.94)
Caleb Surface (Source: Facebook/caleb.surface.94)

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19/AP) - Authorities have released the identity of the 23-year-old man that was fatally shot by a Fairfield Police officer Saturday night.

Caleb Surface was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the Butler County Coroner's officer.

Fairfield police said Surface forced his way into his father's house and got into a fight with him around 8 p.m. on Saturday. Police say the son fled from the house after officers arrived.

A Fairfield police officer located the suspect a couple of blocks away and police say the officer fired multiple times at the man. Police did not say what led to the shooting. The officer will be placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated.

Fairfield Police said Scott Conklin was officer involved in the shooting. He's a 10-year veteran of the department, but in his latest review period, it appears he's had some struggles.

In learning more about Conklin, FOX19 has learned more about the victim, and the circumstances surrounding the shooting in the 911 tapes.

"Get out of here! You're going to have send somebody pretty quick, man. He's out of control," Surface's father, Jeff Surface, told a 911 operator.

Just seconds later, Surface and his son, Caleb, had a confrontation, leading to this conversation:

Jeff Surface: "Are you still there?"

911 operator: "Yeah. I'm still here, what's going on now, sir?"

Surface: "He's in his room." 

911 operator: "Okay."

Surface: "He just tried to open the door, grab a knife or something. I almost had to shoot him. You need to send somebody over here now."

As police arrived, the younger Surface fled the Spyglass Hill Court home.

"The subject that we're looking for, he's also potentially suicidal. He's asking to be shot," said an unidentified police officer in radio traffic recordings.

Officers then found Surface one street away.

"I've got him at gunpoint. He's claiming to have a firearm on him," said an officer over radio.

Then, seconds later, this was heard over police radio: "Shots fired at 2028 St. Andrews Court!"

Officer Scott Conklin fired the shot killing Surface Saturday night.  FOX19 obtained his personnel file.  In it are reviews dating back to 2003. However, in last year's reviews, his rating as an officer were on the decline.

In his latest review, he received marks of "unsatisfactory" or "needs improvement" in five of six categories, the two lowest scores possible.

At one point, he was placed on unpaid leave for coming to work late in October. He was scheduled to work 61-days during the review period, but only worked 26 full days and four partial days. The review also accuses Conklin of showing up late to court.

In another category of the review, the reviewer states, "Officer Conklin has shown no interest in expanding his knowledge or taking on new tasks, which was discussed with him prior to the previous evaluation period."

In a statement provided to us on behalf of Caleb Surface's family, they say, in part:

"Caleb was a kind-hearted young man who had many challenges with chemical dependency during his time on earth. Caleb's father, who has solely raised his son since age ten, has dedicated his life to helping Caleb overcome these issues."

Officer Conklin is on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.

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