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Authorities probe Kent hostage taking incident, death

by DAVE O'BRIEN | RECORD-COURIER REPORTER Published: March 1, 2017 1:00 AM

KENT -- An investigation into the Feb. 19 police shooting of a knife-wielding hostage taker at a Silver Meadows Boulevard apartment complex is in the hands of state officials, the Ohio attorney general's office has confirmed.

Spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said agents of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation -- the investigative and forensics division of Attorney General Mike DeWine's office --- are looking specifically at what occurred when members of the Metro SWAT team entered the apartment building.

Kent police said officers investigating suspected drug activity reported by a citizen came into contact with Christopher D. Carter, 27, with a last known address in Kent. Instead of speaking with officers, Carter took 23-year-old Amber Weathers hostage at knifepoint inside a laundry room in the apartment building.

Following a nine-hour standoff and negotiations, officers shot Carter and rescued Weathers, who was unharmed. A knife was collected by Ohio BCI agents at the scene, Del Greco said.

Investigators are focusing on what happened when Metro SWAT officers encountered Carter, at the request of both Kent police and the Portage County prosecutor's office, she said.

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Crime scene agents and special investigators were at the scene Feb. 20-21 following up on the investigation and conducting follow-up interviews, Del Greco said.

The Cuyahoga County medical examiner's office performed an autopsy on Carter's body feb. 21, according to the Portage County coroner's office. Depending on results of the autopsy and toxicology tests, the investigation is "going to take at least a few months," Del Greco said.

After being evaluated Feb. 19 at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center in Ravenna, Weathers subsequently was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in Portage County Common Pleas Court on Jan. 11 for sentencing after pleading guilty in November 2016 to possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony.

Carter's family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with burial expenses. The web address is www.gofundme.com/saying-g-goodbye-to-our-loved-one.

The last officer-involved shooting in Kent was in December 2015, following a domestic disturbance on Virginia Avenue. Prior to that, the last one in Portage County was in 2000 by an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper on the Ohio Turnpike in Shalersville.

In both cases, internal and external investigations and the prosecutor's office cleared officers of wrongdoing.

February also marked the 25th anniversary of the day in February 1992 when Kent police shot and killed Mark Cunningham, a 35-year-old Kent man who for three months terrorized the area around the Kent State University campus, shooting and killing one person and wounding another.

Email: dobnrien@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189


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