Friday, September 01, 2000

Officer dragged to death

12-year-old driver dies from gunshot

By Tim Bonfield, Kristina Goetz and William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Police Office Kevin C. Crayon

Courtney Mathis at his mother's wedding almost three weeks ago.
(Submitted photo)

        A Cincinnati police officer was killed early Friday in Mount Airy when he was dragged more than 800 feet attempting to stop a car driven by a 12-year-old boy.

        The driver was leaving a convenience store parking lot.

        The District 5 officer, Kevin Crayon, age 40, was a four-year veteran of the police force and the father of three children ages 16, 18 and 19.

        The male juvenile who was driving the car, Courtney Mathis, was shot once in the chest. He died at 5:07 a.m. at Children's Hospital Medical Center, about 3 1/2 hours after emergency surgery.

        "This is a tremendous shock for the police department,'' Police Chief Thomas Streicher told reporters at the scene. "Cincinnati has lost another one of its heroes.''

        The incident began about 12:45 a.m. in the parking of the United Dairy Farmers store in the 5500 block of Colerain Avenue, authorities say.

        Witnesses say the boy requested a paper funnel, the kind often used to put oil in an engine, then left the store without making a purchase. The officer, who was in his cruiser in the parking lot, saw the boy getting into the driver's side of a maroon Ford Taurus and attempted to detain him.

        "The officer tried to turn the ignition off in the car,'' Lt. Ruberg said. "The vehicle sped off with the officer's arm attached.''

A Cincinnati police officer stands guard at the UDF in Mt. Airy as fellow officers investigate.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
        After the officer placed both hands in the car, the boy began backing the car out and driving in a zig-zag fashion south on Colerain Avenue. The officer was dragged about 800 feet before being thrown to the street.

        His body came to a stop under another southbound car waiting at a red light at Colerain and North Bend Avenues. The car being driven by the boy continued through the intersection and collided with a northbound car.

        The boy's drove south on Colerain Avenue. Chief Streicher said , en route to his family's apartment on Bahama Terrace. The boy made it to his family's apartment before collapsing. Paramedics rushed him to Children's Hospital around 1:30 a.m.

        A person inside a Colerain Avenue business saw the officer on the street and called 911.

        "The officer was found lying on his back, with his hands out and his gun on the street,'' Chief Streicher said. The officer had "extensive traumatic head injuries.''

        "It's going to be difficult to reconstruct everything because, unfortunately, both parties are dead.''

        Police said that the drivers of the other two cars at the intersection fled without talking with police. Police want to speak with those drivers as witnesses, Chief Streicher said.

For complete coverage of this tragic incident and the people involved, pick up a copy of Saturday's Enquirer.
  • archives of recent killings and attacks on Tristate officers:
  • Daniel Pope and Ronald Jeter
  • Mike Partin
  • Kathleen Conway
        Officer Crayon joined the Cincinnati Police Division July 1996. He started with District 2 but was transferred to District 5 in February. He was assigned to what Chief Streicher described as the "power shift,'' which stretches from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

        Although a relative newcomer to the division, Officer Crayon was highly regarded by his peers, even hard-to-please veterans in the division's homicide unit, Chief Streicher and others said.

        "Everybody talked about him. He had a really big heart, a lot of compassion for people,'' the chief said.

        In fact, he was credited for helping solve a recent homicide and providing key information about a bank robbery suspect.

        Officers who raced to the scene were visibly upset after learning of their colleague's death.

        "It's just a horrible, horrible tragedy. It's going to send shock waves through the police division and the entire community,'' said Keith Fangman, Fraternal Order of Police president.

        It marks the third time since December 1997 that a Cincinnati police officer was killed in the line of duty. Officer Daniel Pope and Spec. Ronald Jeter were shot to death on Dec. 5, 1997, while trying to serve a felony domestic-violence warrant in Clifton Heights.

        "This is going to reopen a lot of wounds,'' Chief Streicher said. "It is going to be a very stressful time for us the next three days. I hope that (city residents) will pray for this officer and for the young man who died.''

        Mr. Fangman was emotional as he talked to reporters.

        "It's only been two-and-a-half years since we buried Dan Pope and Ron Jeter. Now we have to prepare to bury yet another brother officer. I can only ask that the citizens of Cincinnati pray for this officer, his family. Pray for the police division and pray for the entire community.''

        Mr. Fangman also lashed out at the dead juvenile.

        "And in reference to the question as to whether the suspect was armed: He was armed, with a 2,000-pound chunk of metal called an automobile which resulted in the murder of our officer brother.''

        The officer had died, Mr. Fangman said, "because some young punk was driving a car. It's unbelievable.'' Lt. Ruberg advised that Colerain Avenue from Kirby Avenue to Bahama Terrace would probably be closed for most of the day while the investigation continued.

        "We have a lot of witnesses,'' Lt. Ruberg said. "It appears a lot of people saw what happened.

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