NORTH TOLEDO -- Police have two suspects in custody for the shooting of a Toledo Police vice detective. Detective Keith Dressel was shot in the 1400th block of Ontario, near Bush, in north Toledo on Wednesday morning. He died a short time later in a Toledo hospital.
Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre says the preliminary investigation shows 35-year-old Detective Keith Dressel, officer Todd Miller, and detective William Bragg stopped two people on Ontario Street around 2:00am. Navarre says the officers may have interrupted some kind of drug deal. Both suspects appeared young, and Navarre says the officers at first thought they were dealing with curfew violators at the very least.
As Dressel and the others got out of their car and identified themselves, Navarre says the two suspects ran away. 19-year-old Sherman Powell was taken into custody right away by Bragg and Miller. Dressel chased the other, identified by police as 15-year-old Robert Jobe. Navarre says Dressel confronted the boy and shots were exchanged.
A single bullet hit Dressel in the chest. Navarre says other police units rushed to the scene almost instantly, and started giving Dressel first aid. Rescuers took him to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead at 2:36am.
Navarre says officers pinpointed Jobe's location after the shooting using "modern technology." Jobe was also in contact with his probation officer off and on through the morning after the shooting. After Jobe agreed to turn himself in to his probation officer, teams moved in to a house on 722 Bush Street and took Jobe into custody.
In a noon news briefing, Navarre said Sherman has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest, and obstructing justice. Navarre said Jobe will be charged, but the prosecutor's office would need to decide what charges he would face. Navarre said it most likely would be aggravated murder of a police officer.
"It's been 36 1/2 years since we lost one of our family," said Navarre in the news conference at 7:00am. "It is truly a very sad day for the Toledo Police Department and the city of Toledo."
Officer Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, also spoke at the 7:00am news conference. Choking back his emotions, he said the thoughts and prayers of Toledo officers are with Dressel's wife and two young children. "Keith was a hero," Wagner said. "He gave his life doing a job he enjoyed and was highly professional at. He's a good friend of mine, and he'll be missed by many."
Wagner went on to say that the union has assembled a team of grief counselors at the TPPA union hall for officers.
At a news briefing at noon, Wagner said there is already a memorial fund set up at the Toledo Police Federal Credit Union. Donations can be made at any of the credit union's locations, including one at the Public Safety Building, one at Heatherdowns and Eastgate, and at the Toledo Firefighters Credit Union.
Spokesman Brian Schwartz spoke on behalf of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who is currently in Miami, Florida for the US Conference of Mayors. In part, Finkbeiner's statement said:
"I learned at 4:00am from Chief of Staff Bob Reinbolt of the tragedy involving officer Keith Dressel, beloved husband and father, and a valued member of the Toledo Police Department. The senselessness of this loss weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of his fellow officers as well as all of his professional friends and colleagues in the city of Toledo, and our 300,000 citizens.
We have been fortunate to not have experienced the loss of one of Toledo's finest since 1970, when Officer William Miscannon was gunned down on Dorr Street. Seems profoundly senseless that such a loss could occur.
It very sadly reflects the times in which we live and the affects of drugs on our society. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dressel family, close friends and family, and fellow officers on the Toledo Police Department. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as well."
Finkbeiner is expected back in Toledo as soon as he can arrange a flight home from Miami.
Dressel was first hired as a Toledo Police officer in 1993. Navarre says his current assignment was in the vice/narcotics bureau. Navarre says he also worked in field operations and communications. His personnel file says he was commended for bravery in 1998, when he ran into a burning building on Bancroft, and helped save an elderly man from the fire.
Navarre says Dressel did fire his weapon, but there's no evidence Jobe was hit. Dressel was not wearing a bullet-resistant vest, nor was he required to as an undercover vice detective, said Navarre. The Lucas County Coroner says Dressel died of a single gunshot wound that perforated his heart. The case was ruled a homicide.
Dressel is survived by his wife and two children, ages 6 and 4.
The last time a Toledo Police officer was killed in the line of duty was September, 18, 1970. Patrolman William Miscannon was shot and killed during a turbulent time in Toledo when race relations were very strained. Miscannon was just 33-years-old and the father of four.
A suspect was arrested for Miscannon's murder, and he went on trial twice, but each time the case ended with a hung jury.
The web site Ohio's Fallen Officers says a total of 31 police officers have been killed in the line of duty in the city of Toledo. Dressel's death would make the total 32. The site says Ohio ranks 5th in the nation for deaths in the line of duty.
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