Sheriff: Ohio suspect had been in mental facility

This undated photo released by the Clark County Sheriff's Office in Ohio shows Clark County Sheriff's Deputy Suzanne Hopper. Hopper, a 12-year veteran of her agency and a former officer of the year who frequently won commendations for her work, was killed Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, in a trailer park standoff. (AP Photo/Clark County Sheriff's Office)

January 3, 2011 7:41:48 PM PST
The suspect in a fatal weekend shooting of a sheriff's deputy in western Ohio was committed to a mental facility after a 2001 standoff at a camping area in another part of the state, a sheriff said Monday.

Suspect Michael Ferryman, 57, and Clark County Deputy Suzanne Hopper died in Saturday's shooting near Springfield. Another officer was wounded.

In the earlier standoff with deputies in Morgan County, about 100 miles east of Springfield, Ferryman fired several times at officers, Morgan County Sheriff Tom Jenkins said in a news release Monday. The officers had responded to complaints that Ferryman shot at other campers taking firewood from a community pile, Jenkins said.

No one was hurt in the 26-hour standoff. Ferryman was charged with felonious assault on police officers with a firearm specification, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2003 and was committed to a mental facility.

He was granted a conditional release in 2005 from a southeastern Ohio mental facility and evaluated in 2008 by another facility in western Ohio, where he was living at the time, to help determine whether he remained mentally ill and whether conditional release still was appropriate, said Andrew Reisner, executive director of a forensic diagnostic center in Byesville. The center has been monitoring the case.

Reisner said he had been in contact with the Morgan County prosecutor in recent weeks to determine the status of the 2001 case and if another evaluation was due.

"The conditional release system works well usually, and there are many cases where patients are returned to a hospital if there are problems, Reisner said. "Cases where something of this magnitude happens are a rarity."

He said the center had not been informed of any problems in Ferryman's case.

State and local investigators on Monday continued trying to piece together events that led to the shooting. Hopper was shot dead as she was collecting evidence for an investigation of a report of gunshots at an Enon Beach mobile home park.

Officials at the Clark County coroner's office on Monday referred calls seeking autopsy resullts to the sheriff's office, which did not immediately return calls. Eight officers are on paid leave, normal procedure after a fatal police shooting, and the sheriff's office will conduct an internal investigation.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation is leading the investigation into the shooting, but spokesman Ted Hart said Monday that the bureau does not comment on ongoing investigations.

Hopper was the first Clark County officer killed on duty since 1978, the Springfield Sun-News reported. The 11-year deputy's record includes commendations and perfect attendance for a six-year stretch, Sheriff Gene Kelly said.

The 40-year-old mother of two teenage children had married recently and organized charity events during her time on the force. Hopper's family members said they're relying on religious faith during their sorrow and said she loved police work.

"It's evident that she did more for people because she loved people, and I think that was why she picked the career she picked. She thought she could help people," her father, Charles Bauer, told WHIO-TV of Dayton.

Hopper's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at First Christian Church in Springfield, with burial at Myers Cemetery, said a spokeswoman for Littleton & Rue Funeral Home. Visitation will be at the church Thursday afternoon and evening.

German Township police officer Jeremy Blum, wounded in Saturday's shootout, was in fair condition Monday at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.

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