Suspect accused of setting Portage County deputy on fire identified

Suspect accused of setting Portage County deputy on fire identified
Jay E. Brannon (Jay E. Brannon (Source: Portage County Sheriff's Office)

ROOTSTOWN TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - A deputy with the Portage County Sheriff’s Office was seriously injured while attempting to serve felony warrants on a suspect Thursday evening.

The Portage County Sheriff said deputies and NEOMED police officers went to 3900 block of SR 44 in Rootstown Township around 6:43 p.m. to serve felony warrants on 49-year-old Jay E. Brannon after learning he was in an unattached building on the property.

Deputies reportedly entered the building and found Brannon crouched down in front of a pickup truck being repaired.

That’s when Brannon ignited a can of flammable liquids while threatening to “kill the cops,” the sheriff said.

According to the sheriff, Brannon also said that he wanted the officers to kill him.

Brannon then threw the ignited can of flammable liquid at the officers, striking Sgt. James Acklin, the sheriff said.

Suspect accused of setting Portage County deputy on fire identified

Sgt. Acklin retreated out through a man door with his clothing on fire, according to the sheriff.

The sheriff said other deputies and officers engaged Sgt. Acklin and put out the flames.

Brannon then charged the other officers still in the building and attempted to assault them, the sheriff said.

According to the sheriff, deputies and other officers were able to get Brannon outside onto the driveway where he was taken into custody.

Rootstown EMS transported Sgt. Acklin to the Akron Children’s Burn Unit where he remains at this time, the sheriff said.

Sgt. Acklin’s condition is unknown at this time.

The sheriff said two other officers were treated at University Hospitals for smoke inhalation and released.

The Rootstown Fire Department was able to contain the fire to the outside structure, according to the sheriff.

Brannon is charged with attempted aggravated murder, aggravated arson, and previous felony drug charges that led up to the event, according to the sheriff.

Jay E. Brannon (Jay E. Brannon (Source: Portage County Sheriff's Office)
Jay E. Brannon (Jay E. Brannon (Source: Portage County Sheriff's Office)

The Portage County Sheriff said 59-year-old Michael Moore was also arrested at the scene for unrelated drug charges on felony fugitive warrants.

Moore’s last known address was in the 950 block of Riddle Street in Ravenna, according to the report.

Michael Moore (Source: Portage County Sheriff's Office)
Michael Moore (Source: Portage County Sheriff's Office)

Brannon’s last known address was in the 1100 block of State Route 183 in Atwater, the report stated.

According to the sheriff, both Brannon and Moore are being held in the Portage County Jail pending arraignment.

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