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Video: Motive Still Murky In Ohio T-Stop Ambush

May 03, 2013  | 

VIDEO: Ambush at Ohio T-Stop

Middlefield (Ohio) Police say they still don't know why a suspect who ran a stop sign opened fire with an AK-47 at the two officers who pulled him over in March.

Officers found books about militias and terrorism and eight 40-round AK magazines in James Gilkerson's vehicle following the assault on Officers Brandon Savage and Erin Thomas at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.

Police Chief Arnold Stanko released patrol-car video from the incident, which began when the officers made a U-turn to pull over Gilkerson. At the vehicle stop, Officer Thomas exited the cruiser's passenger side. She began walking around the back toward Officer Savage, when Gilkerson exited the vehicle and opened fire.

Gilkerson fired 37 rounds, and the officers answered with 54 rounds. At one point in the gunfight, Gilkerson yelled, "Kill me!" He was fatally shot.

Officer Thomas was hit several times and Officer Savage was wounded by flying windshield glass. Both officers returned fire. Officer Savage returned fire from the driver's seat.

Chief Stanko told reporters that investigators still don't know what caused Gilkerson to ambush the officers. The chief also cleared the officers, saying Gilkerson was "a scumbag and a terrorist," reports the Cleveland Plain DealerIn March, Gilkerson's attorney told the Plain Dealer his client "just didn't like authority."

Tags: Assaults on Officers, Deadly Force, Vehicle Stops, Middlefield (Ohio) PD


Comments (12)

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12

t kelly @ 5/3/2013 9:34 PM

This was Middlefield not Middletown.

Troop @ 5/5/2013 5:08 PM

Of course he has an attorney!

therookie @ 5/6/2013 5:11 PM

Regardless of who he was or what he wanted I say good job to the 2 Officers. They survived the onslaught to go home to their families and took another scum bag bad guy off the street forever no matter how it was acheived. Fantastic.

Jim A @ 5/6/2013 11:58 PM

So, he "just did not like authority". What a mild description of an evil person. Well, this scumbag is going to have "one hell of an authority" to deal with where he is going!

Be safe out there!

Ima Leprechaun @ 5/7/2013 12:30 AM

Ask and ye shall receive! That part of Ohio is home to the group's that do not believe that the US Government has any authority over them ( the so called freemen) so he was probably from one of those fringe groups. Contact with them is usually over a minor traffic infraction and ends with a serious gunfight. That may explain why it was two officer crusier that had stopped him in the first place. Both Officers did a great job considering the circumstances.

RogerWilco @ 5/7/2013 9:50 AM

good shoot. With a little more range time you can dispatch evil with fewer shots and less exposure...the longer you take the longer you're exposed

pup @ 5/7/2013 3:41 PM

First, I like to say I'm glad both officers are alive with minor injuries. I know it could have been much worst and God was watching over them that day. Also, I'm glad to see they didn't give until the bad guy was put down and no longer a threat.
Since I agree with most comments regarding kudos for a job well done, I need to criticize the officers upon their initial T-Stop. If you review the entire video(cleveland.com), you will noticed upon the stop, both officers remained in their vehicle talking for nearly 40 seconds until exiting. Upon their approach, both officers were on the driver side of the vehicle. The vehicle is a death trap. We all know it. So, give yourself a chance and get out of the car right away.
If you're an FTO and wanting your trainee to approach the driver, you still split up and approach on both sides of the vehicle. Don't make an easy target for two. As for getting on the radio, I agree with the comments. Put down the threat if possible before calling dispatch. Otherwise, you may never get the information to dispatch if the threat is still engaging....Good job and to all brothers/sisters in LE, God Bless and stay safe...

csm @ 5/13/2013 11:50 AM

And people have a problem with restricting military type weapons and large capacity magazines?? If this perp had more training and utilized cover, the outcome would likely have been much different, and tragically for the two members. I'm certain the perp would not even have qualified for this weapon if more extensive background checks had been conducted. I'm not a bleeding heart liberal, but a 32 year LEO with extensive tactical experience, and this clearly illustrates the need to restrict these weapons from the general public. The general population does not have any legitimate NEED for these. Let's do something before the next general duty LEO's come up against a trained, dangerous opponent, support the ban of these weapons, now.

Bob@Az. @ 5/14/2013 7:08 PM

csm, Sorry but I disagree with your thinking. If you'll go back to the day you got your shield and the oath you took, to defend this Country and its' Constituition. It's not the need, its' the Right given us by the brave men who risked their lives by signing that document. And as for more extensive background checks, until the mental health community starts sharing info it's a moot point. Blues, Stay Safe.

scottmead @ 5/17/2013 8:17 AM

you are right Bob@Az after i graduate collage i will be going to the police acadmey. being a cop means to protect the people of your town or county.

scottmead @ 5/17/2013 8:17 AM

you are right Bob@Az after i graduate collage i will be going to the police acadmey. being a cop means to protect the people of your town or county.

Acting Chief S. Thomas @ 5/24/2013 11:36 PM

csm, Sorry but I disagree with your thinking. If you'll go back to the day you got your shield and the oath you took, to defend this Country and its' Constituition. It's not the need, its' the Right given us by the brave men who risked their lives by signing that document. And yes there is a crazy one in every bunch, and any one who would do somthing like this dezerves what he gets, but I have encountered multiple Sovren Citizens, in my time in the service of the comunity and most of them may be extream in their beliefs, but they respect you and have no intrest in doing harm to you, or any one elese.
We have to hold each individual responsible for his actions, and not rush to judgment of an entire belife system, or risk starting an unnesisary civil war that no one wants, except guys like him.
Be safe out there.

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