Friday, November 5, 2004

Man with knife killed by police

He slashed throat, lunged

By Jennifer Edwards and William A. Weathers
Enquirer staff writers

UNION TOWNSHIP - A 39-year-old man with a knife died Thursday after he slashed his throat and lunged at two police officers, who shot him, police said.

Thomas Campbell was pronounced dead at University Hospital about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, said Lt. Mark Griffith, spokesman for the Union Township Police Department.

The officers, whose names were not released, were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, which is standard practice in police-involved shootings, Griffith said.

"It's every police officer's nightmare," Griffith said. "It's certainly unfortunate."

Police were called to an apartment at the Beechmont East apartments in the 400 block of Yarabee Trace off Beechmont Avenue at 2:47 p.m. on a report of a suicidal man, police said.

Griffith gave this account of the confrontation: When officers arrived, they saw Campbell standing in the second-story apartment's doorway holding a knife to his throat. They tried to calm him down and repeatedly asked him to drop the knife.

He refused and told police to shoot him.

Griffith slashed his throat and lunged at the officers with the knife.

One officer fired at Campbell, who was hit and disabled enough for officers to control him. No one else was hurt. It was unclear Thursday how many shots were fired.

Officers continued to investigate the shooting, the first police-involved shooting in Union Township since January 2001, when a suspect was shot and wounded.

Campbell lived with his girlfriend at the complex for about six months and had recently gotten custody of his two children, ages 15 and 12, said Sherry Reed, the complex manager.

She wasn't sure if the children had moved into the apartment.

"He's a real nice guy," she said. "I really hate to see this."

Campbell was between construction jobs and was looking for a new career, she said.

In February, Campbell pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence with a prior conviction and was sentenced to probation, Clermont County court records show. He was ordered to complete two years of community control and follow mental health recommendations.

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