Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Elyria 67°


Coroner: Man was under the influence during deadly standoff


ELYRIA — William King, the man who died during a standoff with Elyria police, was under the influence of alcohol and various tranquilizers, according to the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office.

A three-page toxicology report shows that King was drinking and was slightly over the legal limit of 0.08 blood-alcohol content during the time of his death. He also tested positive for the animal tranquilizer Ketamine.

King’s wife, Donna King, said in an earlier interview that King suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and was taking nerve pills and antidepressants while he was trying to quit drinking. Those were also shown on the toxicology report.

Cuyahoga County Coroner’s spokesman Powell Caesar said King died of seven gunshot wounds to his torso and extremities after he was fired at by Elyria police officers. The Lorain County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

On July 15, King called 911 to report that he shot his wife and was going to shoot himself. Officers surrounded King’s home five minutes later, but Donna King later called to say that she hadn’t been shot and was returning home from a festival.

Police said William King came outside the home with a pistol aimed at himself and failed to respond when officers told him to put down the weapon. Police said he pointed the gun at the officers, prompting them to fire at him.

Jim King, King’s brother, said William King’s wife, Donna, told him everything on the toxicology report had been prescribed to his brother. Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh said some people have used Ketamine as a recreational drug, but according to the Archives of General Psychiatry, the drug has also shown to be a promising treatment among bipolar patients suffering from depression.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Don Barker, who is in charge of the investigation, said he could not release King’s medical records because of health care privacy laws.

Jim King acknowledged that William King did have problems with alcohol, although William King reportedly told his brother that he quit drinking.

“Last he told me, he had quit drinking,” Jim King said. “But he often told me that.”

Jim King said the mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs may have put William King over the edge, but he believes the Elyria police should have handled the situation better.

“He was already delusional and for (police) to constantly yell, I don’t think that was a good way to handle it,” he said.

Jim King was on the scene during the standoff and said he wished he was given an opportunity to speak with his brother before officers surrounded the home.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or

Click to view comments
To Top

Fetching stories…