Officer Brandon Stalker. Photo courtesy of WLS Panther Pride Facebook page. Composite image by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine.
Toledo Police Department Chief George Kral announced the death of a Toledo police officer in a Monday night press conference. The officer, identified as Brandon Stalker in a TPD tweet, was shot Monday after a barricaded suspect exited his house and opened fire on law enforcement.
“This is a very dark and horrific day for the city of Toledo, and it comes at a time when the Toledo police department has had to endure too many dark and terrible days in the last six months,” Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said. “Certainly today, we are all reminded of Officer [Anthony] Dia and how he was also killed in the line of duty on July 4th of last year, but we also remember Officer Kevin Dumas who, while not killed in the line of duty, died unexpectedly just a few weeks ago. And for an organization like the Toledo Police Department that truly is a family, this has been a very difficult time.”
According to a TPD news release, shortly after 4 p.m. local time, officers with the TPD Gang Task Force located a suspect identified as 27-year-old Christopher Harris. He was wanted for arson and vandalism of the Rosary Cathedral and was smoking a cigarette outside of his house. When officers attempted to confront the suspect, he brandished a firearm and then barricaded himself inside his home. Law enforcement immediately established a perimeter, and the TPD SWAT team arrived shortly after.
After negotiators unsuccessfully tried to communicate with the barricaded suspect for two hours, the SWAT team decided to launch 40 mm CS gas cartridges into the building “in an attempt to have the suspect exit the home and peacefully surrender.” The suspect emerged and fired several rounds from two firearms in multiple directions, and one of the bullets struck Stalker in the head. TPD officers returned fire, striking the suspect and wounding him.
His fellow officers rushed Stalker to Mercy St. Vincent’s Hospital, where hospital staff later pronounced him dead. Harris was transported to the hospital and was also pronounced dead after his arrival.
ABC13, the local Toledo affiliate, was on scene during the standoff and captured the moment the SWAT team returned fire and mortally wounded Harris.
Stalker was 24 years old and joined the Toledo Police Department in July 2018. He was classmates with Officer Anthony Dia, who was killed in the line of duty on July 4, 2020. According to the TPD news release, Stalker is the 32nd Toledo police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted Monday night that he is ordering flags to be flown at half-staff through the day of Stalker’s funeral: “In honor of Officer Stalker’s life and service, I have ordered that all U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds in Lucas County and at the
@OhioStatehouse, Riffe Center, and Rhodes Tower in Columbus until sunset on the day of his funeral.”
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.
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