Officers identified in shooting

MIDDLEFIELD – The police officers involved in a fatal shooting during a Sunday night traffic stop have been identified as Brandon Savage and Erin Thomas.

Thomas was completing her field training program, with Savage as her trainer, when the shooting occurred.

The two officers pulled over a lone male just before 6 p.m. near North State Avenue and Tare Creek, close to the state Routes 608 and 87 intersection in downtown Middlefield.

Police said the man came out of the vehicle firing a semi-automatic rifle. The Middlefield officers, both wounded, returned fire, killing the gunman.

The gunman was identified as James L. Gilkerson, 42, of 8752 Andrews Road in Mentor-on-the-Lake. A motive for his firing on officers has not been determined.

Thomas sustained serious gunshot injuries to her left hand fingers. Shrapnel was embedded in her right wrist and she received a gunshot wound to her left thigh. She was transported by helicopter to Metro Hospital in Cleveland, where she underwent surgery to repair her injuries.

Thomas remains hospitalized and is expected to be released in the next day or so, according to the Middlefield Police Department.

Savage sustained minor injuries to his left knee from flying fragments. He was treated and released from University Hospital in Geauga and is at home recovering.

Both officers have more than five years of experience in the field. Savage has served with the Middlefield police for the past five years as the departmental field training officer and defensive tactics instructor. He has received specialized training in active shooter responses.

Thomas was hired with Middlefield in February.

The investigation is being conducted by the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification. The police cruiser was said to be equipped with a dashcam, which is in possession of BCI.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.