Sat 5:50pm: Veteran officer identified as involved in fatal shooting

WARREN A local man who just turned 24 on Thursday was shot to death early this morning by veteran police officer in what started out to be a traffic call on the city’s southwest side.

Other sources close to the investigation that has now been taken over by a state agency say Officer Michael Krafcik, a 20-year veteran with the department, was investigating a traffic accident on Risher Road about a 100-yards from the intersection with Palmyra Road S.W. when he was confronted by Taemarr Walker, who arrived at the scene in another car shortly before 2 a.m.

It’s believed Walker was armed when he confronted the officer, according to police scanner traffic.

Walker has an extensive history of brushes with the law and was scheduled to appear in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday on charges of failure to comply with the order of a police officer and tampering with evidence in a car hijacking case out of Niles.

Police Chief Eric Merkel confirmed this afternoon that several shots were fired and more than one weapon was confiscated and taken from the scene by agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Merkel said BCI was now in charge of the case and Krafcik was on administrative leave and “doing well.”

The chief declined to identify either Krafcik or Walker by name, but various sources confirmed both identities for the Tribune Chronicle, including family or friends at the scene.

The chief said the shooting victim’s body was taken to Trumbull Memorial Hospital. He said the victim had several different pieces of identification on him, but that no one from the victim’s family had positively identified him.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday morning according to Law Director Greg Hicks, who with Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa and Lt. Jeff Cole flanked Merkel at the 2 p.m. press conference in City Council chambers.

Read more about the case in the Sunday Tribune Chronicle.