By Nancy Molnar The Times-Reporter
SUGARCREEK, Ohio — A 32-year-old from High Point, N.C., has been identified as the man fatally shot by a Sugarcreek police officer on Wednesday.
Tuscarawas County Coroner Dr. Jeff Cameron said Elijah Collins III died from a gunshot wound at 11:06 a.m. at 138 Second St. NW. A complete autopsy is pending.
Capt. Brian Dalton began firing after Collins, who was driving a semi tractor-trailer, stabbed him in the neck with a screwdriver, according to Police Chief Kevin Kaser. The officer had cited Collins for damaging property after driving into an area where trucks were prohibited. The incident began around 10 a.m. on Second Street NW near TMK Farm Service.
Video from a body-mounted camera worn by Dalton shows Collins seated in the cab of his truck, appearing to be above the officer. Collins seems calm while holding up his cell phone to record the interaction.
After Dalton tells Collins he will need to appear in New Philadelphia Municipal Court for the charge of criminal damaging, Collins drops the phone, reaches into the side pocket of the door of the cab, grabs the screwdriver and lunges toward the officer. The two appear to scuffle in TMK's lot.
Next, a series of rapid gunshots can be heard. Dalton shouts for help.
"Officer shot! Officer down! I've been stabbed in the neck!"
Sugarcreek police released their video from the incident Friday evening.
Kaser said the shooting was justified and that his officer was polite and professional throughout the traffic stop.
On the recording, Dalton can be heard calling Collins "sir" when he hands his citation to him. Collins did not reply to Dalton's request for the last four digits of his Social Security number.
Kaser said Dalton did not require surgery on the injury to his neck and is expected to recover fully. He has been discharged from Summa Akron City Hospital.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting, which is also to be reviewed by a committee of village officials.
Collins reportedly had a criminal history.
Dalton, 37, has been with the Sugarcreek Police Department since 2011. He was promoted to captain in 2018.
©2019 The Times-Reporter, New Philadelphia, Ohio