GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – Girard’s mayor and police chief agree there’s only one way to describe the series of events that took place five months ago on the night of October 21, 2017 – the perfect storm.
Mayor Jim Melfi and Chief John Norman are referring to the night Officer Justin Leo was shot and killed in the line of duty. Police returned fire and Leo’s attacker, Jason Marble, was killed.
Both men sat down with WYTV senior reporter Gerry Ricciutti to go over the 18-page report that was issued the by Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office.
“A clear picture for everybody of what our officers have to go through on the daily, but it also shows you how we can improve,” Norman said.
The report confirms what many had suspected, which is that Officer Leo wasn’t wearing his protective vest that night. Chief Norman said the department’s union contract doesn’t require officers to wear their vests at all times, only to have them readily available. Today, that policy has changed.
“We already talked about it, and we do have it. We are going to supersede. Everyone wears them now. Should have been that way all along,” Norman said.
The prosecutor determined Marble’s shooting by officer Matt Jameson was justifiable homicide. Both the mayor and the chief say Jameson’s actions, literally under fire, kept anyone else on Indiana Avenue that night from getting hurt. Still, they both wonder how it all might have been different.
“Would’ve, should’ve. It weighs heavy on the chief. It weighs heavy on me,” Melfi said.
With blue ribbons still hanging outside City Hall, those memories aren’t likely to fade anytime soon.