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Cops and Courts

Officer shot in standoff critical

  • Ptacek-JPG

    Amherst police officer Eugene Ptacek has been identified as the member of the Lorain County SWAT team shot during a standoff in Sheffield Lake.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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Authorities will be seeking an attempted murder charge against a Sheffield Lake man whom they say opened fire on law enforcement officers, leaving one officer in critical condition, during a 14-hour standoff Thursday.

Martin L. Robinson, 39, of 778 Oliver St., was taken into custody about 12:30 a.m. Friday after exchanging gunfire with members of the Lorain County SWAT team, wounding Amherst police Officer and SWAT team member Eugene Ptacek.

Ptacek is a 17-year veteran of the department and has served on the countywide SWAT team for several years, according to a news release from Amherst police.

Sheffield Lake Police Chief Tony Campo said the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Robinson when he barricaded himself in his home.

Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said since his department was not involved in the incident, his officers will be the ones investigating it. The home on Oliver Street near Ferndale Avenue still is an active crime scene.

Current investigation

Costantino said Robinson is being held in Cuyahoga County Jail because the initial arrest warrant was related to an incident out of Brook Park. His department placed a hold on Robinson.

“So if he gets released from Cuyahoga County, we take him into custody here,” he said. “There’s definitely going to be more charges, too.”

Sheffield Lake Patrolman Jim Simone said immediately after the standoff ended, Robinson was taken to University Hospitals St. John Medical Center for treatment for three bullet wounds. Court records indicate he was released from the hospital Friday and subsequently arrested.

Robinson’s attorney, Patrick Dichiro, could not be reached for comment.

Costantino, meanwhile, said it’s still early in the investigation, and the department was processing the scene throughout the day Friday. It’s “going to be a lot to process” and will be “around the clock,” he said.

“We’re still processing the scene, which is difficult because there was a lot of gas fired into the house to try and get him out,” he said. “Our investigators are actually having to wear gas masks, and they can’t be in the house for very long at a time.”

Costantino said another hurdle in the investigation is that the house was “very full with a lot of material,” but investigators have been able to recover things relating to the investigation.

One blank the department had yet to fill in is why Robinson reacted the way he did.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said. “But this was a violent attack against officers, and they acted very heroically while under fire. They were faced with a very dangerous and desperate person and his intentions were clear.”

Brook Park incident

According to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court records, Robinson was wanted on a capias warrant for not appearing in court relating to an October incident in Brook Park.

The police report from the Brook Park Police Department says Robinson was pulled over for speeding shortly before 3 a.m. Oct. 31 and was found to be under the influence.

An inventory of the vehicle produced a handgun and magazine in the glove compartment of the vehicle, and he also was found to be in violation of a protection order, which he was charged with in addition to speeding, operating a vehicle under the influence and carrying a concealed weapon.

The case was bound over to the county grand jury, where he was indicted on additional charges of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. He failed to appear May 7, forfeiting his $10,000 cash bond and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Previous incident with law enforcement

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said Robinson previously worked as a corrections officer at the Northeast Reintegration Center in Cleveland. He left the department July 13, 2011.

It was during his employment there that he was involved in a July 10, 2009, incident involving Cleveland police officers.

According to an Aug. 3, 2011, complaint filed with the U.S. District Court of Northern Ohio, Robinson was on duty that July day, securing a breach in the prison’s fence when he and another corrections officer were approached by four Cleveland police officers.

The complaint said while the two corrections officers identified themselves as state employees, the police officers did not do the same and rushed Robinson when he unsnapped his holster, wrestling him to the ground and employing a chokehold.

The complaint said he was slammed into the ground multiple times while in handcuffs, and he “sustained damages and suffered injuries and intense pain in his head, neck, shoulders and back.”

The complaint said Robinson wanted relief for excessive force, unlawful seizure, false imprisonment, willful, wanton and reckless conduct.

The case was settled March 27, 2012. Details of the settlement were not included in the court paperwork.

Contact Katie Nix at 329-7129 or knix@chroniclet.com. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @KatieHNix.



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