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Alert neighbor points police toward wanted Lorain fugitive

  • Billy-Kopp-pic-1-jpg

    Billy Kopp, a custodian at Garfield Elementary in Lorain answers questions about the incident where he helped Lorain police solve a violent crime.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

  • kopp-2-jpg

    Billy Kopp, a custodian at Garfield Elementary in Lorain answers questions about the incident where he helped Lorain police solve a violent crime.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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LORAIN — Every morning, Billy Kopp goes to the end of his driveway to get the morning paper and chat with his neighbor.

Friday morning was no different until he saw a man he believed to be a wanted fugitive walk past his home.

The day before, the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force named Jonathan McCann its fugitive of the week for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Jesika Buckosh, and then slashing her friend, Christa Waters, across the face with a knife when she tried to save Buckosh.

McCann’s photo was sent to local police departments and a Facebook post showing McCann’s face and detailing what happened was shared thousands of times.

“I called one of the police officers that I taught to wrestle, and I said, ‘There’s a fugitive walking down the block,’ ” Kopp said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Not more than 30 seconds later, Kopp said, Officer Timothy Thompson pulled up. They looked at the news article with McCann’s photo, looked at the man walking down the street, and Thompson went to make the arrest.

“I Googled the paper, and there he is (his picture) and I just walked over to him and asked him his name, and he said, ‘Jonny. I’m the guy you want,’ ” Thompson said. “Things like that happen on our job. You’d be surprised. Guys like that surrender, and people who are wanted for traffic tickets put up a fight.”

Thompson has worked for the Lorain Police Department for 12 years, and grew up in Lorain, so he said there are always a few people in every neighborhood who have his phone number to call.

Kopp is a fixture in the neighborhood as well. He’s been a custodian in the Lorain Schools for 20 years, and at one point was a wrestling coach.

In May 2015, Kopp was inducted into the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame. In 1988, he was a wrestling state champion for Southview and later coached the Saints and the Titans. He is a custodian at Garfield Elementary School.

“I can’t begin to say enough about what he has done in this school for us,” said Garfield Principal Michelle Spotts-Hayes. “He’s a positive role model for our young men.”

Kopp said he’s dedicated his life to the children of Lorain. He has 12 children of his own and four grandchildren. Last year he married his girlfriend, Nataki.

Kopp said his instinct was to chase after McCann but decided not to when he found out Thompson was close by.

“I seriously thought about (it),” Kopp said, of trying to catch McCann.

Following the arrest, Kopp said he reached out to both Waters and Buckosh to let them know what he saw.

“(Waters) just said, ‘A thousand times thank you,’ and I told her that I just did what the Lord put in my heart,” Kopp said.

Police have told him that there would be a reward for his actions, but he’s already promised whatever money he does get to Waters, who needed 80 stitches after the attack.

“I didn’t know her. I didn’t know the guy that done it to her. I read it in your guys’ newspaper and saw it on Facebook, and he just happened to be walking by, and I took action,” Kopp said.

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or jweinberger@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at Jodi_Weinberger.



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