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Man shot, killed by Garfield Hts. officers performing wellness check after pointing gun at them, police say

Posted at 3:05 PM, Nov 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-15 16:42:58-05

Note: This story and attached video include mentions of suicide. Reader discretion is advised.

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — A man was shot and killed by Garfield Heights Police officers after he pointed a gun at them Tuesday afternoon; the officers were conducting a wellness check on him after he indicated his intent to commit suicide.

At about 12:25 p.m., the department received a call from a man, later identified as 67-year-old Bernard Russell, asking for the suicide hotline, according to an updated news release from Garfield Heights Police. The man hung up when dispatchers began asking him follow-up questions.

The location of the call was tracked to a home on Hathaway Road, and officers were dispatched there to perform a wellness check on the Russell, police said. On arrival, the man’s wife answered the door and said he was in the basement alone.

Officers entered the basement to find Russell on a coach with a firearm in his hand, threatening to commit suicide, police said. The officers requested additional resources, including crisis intervention negotiators and medical personnel.

Officers spoke with Russell for about 10 minutes, trying to convince him to put the gun down, police said.

The man then pointed the gun at the officers, and the two officers fired at the man, causing him to fall to the ground, the release states. Officers performed life-saving measures on the man, but he was pronounced dead after he was taken to Marymount Hospital.

No one else was injured in the incident.

The two officers involved were placed on administrative leave, per department policy, the release states.

The department requested the Bureau of Criminal Investigations to investigate the shooting. BCI said Tuesday that the investigation is still in its preliminary stages, and there were no updates on Wednesday.

The number of the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is 988. Help is available 24/7 for free.

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