BOARDMAN - The township man fatally shot by police late Wednesday had what officials described as a pretty unremarkable history with law enforcement.
Officials confirmed Daniel A. Fitton Jr., 30, of Cook Avenue, had brief and minor brushes with law enforcement, but nothing that would cause them to characterize him as a violent or troubled person.
"There really wasn't a lot of history there," Boardman police Chief Jack Nichols said. "He wasn't someone we had contact with, problems with or any concerns about."
Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said Fitton had some "minor misdemeanor charges" previously filed against him out of state. He said investigators are trying to determine what might have "set him off."
Boardman police shot and killed Fitton after he fired at them from an apartment building window, according to reports.
Reports state police were called to the apartment building in the 800 block of Cook Avenue to investigate a report that the man had used a gun to threaten his neighbors.
Nichols said Fitton had barricaded himself in an apartment, setting off a two-hour standoff with Boardman police and the Mahoning County Crisis Response Team. However, after failed negotiations, police threw tear gas into the building hoping Fitton would surrender. Instead, he fired at officers, and they responded with gunfire, killing him.
Two officers involved in the incident, who have not been named, have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a mental health evaluation. Nichols said it is police policy that any officer involved in a deadly force incident is required to seek mental health care before returning to work. He said he expects the two officers in this case to return to work Monday.
Gains said preliminary investigations indicate the officers followed procedures and were justified in their shooting. Nichols agreed.
"I was there and there was not a whole lot else that could be done," Nichols said.
Gains advised that any reasons given at this point for Fitton's behavior can only be attributed to speculation.
For example, a 911 caller indicated Fitton was upset over an issue of child support.
"There are still a lot of questions and a lot of speculation about what happened here, but there's a lot that we really haven't been able to document at this point," Gains said. "I don't know right now. This is what the caller said but there's no documentation. At least we haven't found any documentation to support that yet."
Gains said the investigation will "take as long as it takes."
He said officials are waiting on toxicology results and findings of an autopsy done by the Mahoning County Coroner's Office
"That could takes weeks," he said. "In the meantime we're trying to talk to everybody involved, everyone who might know something, anyone we can to finish this investigation" Gains said.
This was the first shooting involving police in Boardman since 2006. That shooting involved an armed robber killed at the corner of Midlothian Boulevard and South Avenue.