WARREN - The officer involved in the fatal shooting of an armed man early Saturday is a 20-year-veteran of the Warren Police Department who was involved another fatal shooting in his rookie year.
The dead man, who just turned 24 on Thursday, has a lengthy police record. He had been wounded by gunfire at least two other times, and was suspected in the shooting death of a man in 2009.
Taemarr Walker, 24, with address on Homewood Avenue S.E. and Kenwood Drive S.W., was shot to death just before 2 a.m. near the intersection of Risher and Palmyra roads S.W.
Sources close to the investigation that has now been taken over by a state agency say Patrolman Michael Krafcik 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 Walker, who arrived at the scene in another car.
It's believed Walker was armed when he confronted the officer, according to police scanner traffic. Sources also say he was armed.
On police radio traffic, an officer is heard telling a dispatcher, ''Give me another unit out here. I've got a subject with a gun in a car,'' and then yelling at the person, ''Put your hands up!''
Tribune Chronicle photos / Christopher Bobby
Warren Patrolman Brian Crites stands near Risher Road at Palmyra Road S.W. where a man was shot by police early Saturday morning.
Seconds later, the dispatcher tells backup heading to the scene, ''Shots fired. Shots fired.''
At a news conference Saturday afternoon, police Chief Eric Merkel confirmed that several shots were fired and more than one weapon was confiscated by agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Merkel said BCI was now in charge of the case and the officer was on administrative leave and ''doing well.''
The chief also declined to identify Krafcik as the officer involved, though it was confirmed by others close to the case. The chief also declined to identify Walker, saying that the 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.
"We have heard the name Taemarr Walker, but we are not sure. There is not enough positive I.D. on the body yet," Merkel said. "We are not going to release that as of yet."
Officials and spectators at the scene that was roped off with yellow crime scene tape identified the shooting victim as Walker.
An autopsy was scheduled for this 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.
The body was not removed until after 8:30 a.m. and after BCI had arrived on the scene. Merkel said Warren detectives, including those with internal affairs, were assisting state agents.
Since few details were released, it remains unconfirmed if Walker and the car he was in were already disabled and at the scene or arrived after Krafcik was there. None of the officials would confirm reports that a female was with Walker at the time and was not injured.
It appeared that at least two vehicles were towed from the scene on Risher.
Walker, with address on Homewood Avenue S.E. and Kenwood Drive S.W., has a lengthy criminal record. He was most recently released from Trumbull County Jail Oct. 11 after a grand jury failed to indict him on charges of felonious assault and aggravated robbery in two hold-ups a year ago.
He was accused of robbing Miguel S. Sanchez, 25, of Berkshire Drive, at gunpoint twice, on Oct. 11 in Warren and Oct. 25 in Niles, robbing him of $600 the first time, and taking his car and burning in the second time.
He was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on charges of tampering with evidence and failing to comply with the orders of a police officer.
Walker was a suspect in the shooting death of Ahmaze King, 26, at 3076 Lancer Court, Warren. King was shot in the head, and Walker was wounded in the abdomen.
Police arrested Walker three days later, and charged with felonious assault in the double shooting, but later was indicted on carrying a concealed weapon, receiving stolen property and having weapons under court-ordered prohibition.
He was sentenced to serve one year in prison.
Niles police reported on May 5 of this year, Walker hijacked a car and led officers on a high-speed chase before jumping out of the car. He was found him hiding under another car off Fulton Street in Niles.
In July, after Walker was freed on bond, he was arrested again on charges by deputy U.S. Marshals on Autumn Drive N.W. after they found him hiding inside a clothes dryer at the home of a female friend.
Krafcik, as a rookie officer in 1993, and fellow rookie Patrolman Joseph O'Grady were involved in the fatal shooting of Derek Allen after Allen shot to death a 20-day-old baby at close range. The officers said they heard Allen fire a shot before they fired at him.
Both Krafcik and O'Grady were cleared in the shooting.