Police: Suspect in officer’s death broke into wife’s home, pistol-whipped man, threatened ‘suicide by cop’

Police: Suspect in officer’s death broke into wife’s home, pistol-whipped man, threatened ‘suicide by cop’
Terry Blankenship (Source: Blanchester police)

SPRINGDALE (FOX19) - Springdale police revealed Sunday the chase suspect accused of causing the death of one of their officers on Interstate 275 was wanted because he was considered armed and dangerous, had threatened “suicide by cop” and had a felony warrant out of Blanchester.

On Monday, Blanchester police released details of their case against Terry Blankenship, 42, and the chronology of events that ultimately led up the pursuit Saturday.

Blankenship is accused of purposely ramming a cruiser and causing the crash that killed Officer Kaia Grant, 33, and injured a sergeant.

Springdale police officer killed
Springdale police officer killed

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Two days before the chase and crash, on Thursday, Blankenship broke into his estranged wife’s home in Clinton County and threatened her and her boyfriend, police said Monday.

Blanchester police responded to a report of a man with a gun breaking into her trailer at a mobile home park in the 800 block of East Center Street and then fleeing in a maroon pickup truck Thursday, a news release states.

Blankenship’s estranged wife told police he broke down the front door of the trailer and entered the living room with a pistol in his hand.

He “communicated his intent to kill” her boyfriend, pushed his way past her and went into the bedroom where the boyfriend was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, police said.

Blankenship, according to the news release, pointed the gun at his estranged wife’s boyfriend’s face, and the two men struggled. Blankenship pistol-whipped the man and then fled.

“Prior to fleeing the residence, Blankenship commented that he could have the police shoot him,” the release reads.

Blanchester police told dispatchers to put out a bulletin to law enforcement in surrounding agencies to be on the lookout for Blankenship, he was armed and threatened “suicide by cop.”

Early Friday, police said they began investigating Blankenship’s background and learned he holds a license to carry a concealed weapon, one that was issued by the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office. They also determined he has four prior arrests for domestic violence and one for assault, all in Clermont and Clinton counties.

Those five cases resulted in two disorderly conduct convictions, which Blanchester police described in a news release Monday as " a rather impotent consequence."

They said they also determined he had been staying with a relative in Elmwood Place and was employed at a business in Loveland.

On Friday, Blanchester police got a warrant for Blankenship’s arrest, alerted briefed Elmwood Place and Loveland police about Blankenship and asked them to arrest him.

Both agencies tried Friday but were unable to find him.

About 8 p.m. Saturday night, Elmwood Place police tried to pull Blankenship’s maroon pickup truck over, but he took off, Springdale police said Sunday.

He led Elmwood Place officers on a chase up northbound I-75 to westbound I-275. Police knew he was wanted on the felony warrant and had threatened suicide by cop and was armed and dangerous.

Officer Grant and Sgt. Andrew Davis were listening to the police radio and heard the pursuit coming into their jurisdiction.

They went to the highway between Ohio 4 and Winton Road to put down tire-deflating devices called stop sticks in an effort to halt his vehicle and apprehend him.

Springdale police said Sunday Blankenship intentionally swerved to hit two Springdale police cruisers and causing the crash that killed Officer Grant as she prepared to throw down the stop sticks.

Speeds during the chase reached about 60 mph, Riordan said.

Blankenship used his truck as a weapon, intentionally swerving and “rammed” their cruisers, he said.

“It’s our belief that Mr. Blankenship purposefully diverted his course of travel to purposefully strike our officers,” he said.

The crash severely injured Officer Grant, who received the brunt of the impact, and also injured Sgt. Davis, police said.

One of the two cruisers is considered a total loss.

Officer Grant was flown to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

She was 33-years-old and had served as a police officer in Springdale eight years.

Davis, a 30-year veteran, was taken to Bethesda North Hospital. He was treated and released later that evening.

Police recovered a handgun at the scene, placed Blankenship in custody and took him to a hospital.

He remained hospitalized Sunday in serious condition, Riordan said.

Charges are pending in connection with Officer Grant’s death. Springdale police said they planned to consult this week with the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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