Coroner discusses tragic start to 2019 for law enforcement
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Three Greater Cincinnati law enforcement officers are dead just one month into 2019.
Three were killed in the line of duty.
In a press conference Monday, Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco addressed the deadly start to 2019 for law enforcement, touching on each of the five officers who lost their lives.
The first of the year, Sammarco said, was recently retired Harrison police officer and night investigator for the Hamilton County coroner’s office Scott Jenkins. He tragically took his own life.
Art Schultz followed 72 hours later, Sammarco said. Schultz was a member of the Cincinnati Police Department. He was found dead in Eden Park from a self-inflicted gunshot wound said Sammarco.
Colerain Township Police Officer Dale Woods was hit and critically injured by a pickup truck on Colerain Avenue late Jan. 4.
The 46-year-old died at University of Cincinnati Medical Center thee years later, leaving behind three children and a grieving community - one he served a total of 30 years.
Woods worked as a Colerain Township firefighter for 15 years before becoming a Colerain Township police officer for another 15 years.
"Dale was the kind of man who would break a window in a car to save a baby that was in a sweltering car and was going to lose its life, never expecting to hear a thank you but ironically getting the message of thank you from that child’s father one hour before he was struck Friday,” Colerain Township Police Chief Mark Denney said in eulogizing Woods at his funeral last month.
Last week, a police officer from a small Warren County suburb, Jerrid Lee, was killed in a head-on collision on Ohio 125 near Lindale-Mount Holly Road in Clermont County’s Amelia.
An eastbound 2006 GMC Envoy crossed the center lane on Ohio 125 and struck his westbound 1997 Honda Civic head-on, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Batavia Post.
The 27-year-old officer who had been with Clearcreek Township police just one year died at the scene, troopers said.
Lee was off duty at the time of the crash and in his personal vehicle, but on his way to the gym and then planned to go into work, according to OSP.
He was survived by a wife and young children, Clearcreek Township police said in a statement.
The driver of the GMC, Justin M. Watts, 31, was driving under suspected drug impairment, according to the state patrol.
He was arrested on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter.
Less than a week later, a deputy with the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Bill Brewer, was gunned down during a standoff with a reported suicidal suspect at an apartment complex in Pierce Township, sheriff’s officials said.
The suspect shot a second deputy, Lt. Nick DeRose, and wounded him.
As a result of the standoff, a fire broke out before authorities took the suspect, Wade Edward Winn, 23, into custody early Sunday, about 12 hours after the standoff began.
Sammarco said Brewer was hit by two bullets: one in the pelvic area, one in the lower leg. One of those shots was fatal.
Brewer was pronounced dead at Anderson Mercy Hospital.
He leaves behind a wife and 5-year-old son.
When his body was returned to Clermont County Sunday from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office in Cincinnati, the community lined streets out of respect and honor as law enforcement vehicles escorted the ambulance heading to an Amelia funeral home.
The violence that has inflicted senseless losses upon law enforcement finally found its way to Clermont County," wrote retired Clermont County Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg in a Facebook post Sunday.
"Most of you have already probably seen or heard that two of our Deputies were shot last night during a disturbance call in Pierce Township. Bill Brewer, a 20 year veteran with a wife and young child was killed. Another, Nick Derose, was injured but should recover.
“When I was Sheriff and thereafter I often thought and remarked how fortunate and lucky we were that none of our office’s Deputies or any other officers from CC agencies had been killed in a violent incident. Sadly this can no longer be said. Please keep Deputies Brewer and Derose and their families in your thoughts and prayers as well as the other brave warriors who have our backs day and night 24/7.”
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