Police Officers Shoot, Kill Mentally Challenged Man - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Police Officers Shoot, Kill Mentally Challenged Man

LORAIN, Ohio – A police officer's partner killed a mentally challenged man who first stabbed the officer in an uncontrollable fit of rage on Thursday, 19/43 News' Bill Younkin reported.

19/43 News was first to the scene, and uncovered a shocking twist in the case.

Police were well aware of the man's mental state when they were called to his parent's home. They said, however, that the man would not be reasoned with, calling the ordeal "a nasty situation."

Ronnie Untalan had battled a mental illness for the last 15 years. His parents said that, for the first time ever, he snapped, grabbed a butcher knife and threatened to commit suicide. So, his mother called police.

A private ambulance company that was first on the scene also called for help.

Ronnie's father, Romeo Untalan, said that two officers tried for over an hour to talk his son into giving up the knife.

"In a split second he lunged at the officer," Romeo said.

Ronnie stabbed patrolman James Wolford in his side, and so Wolford's partner, Joseph Kopronica, fired.

"He had already stabbed officer Wolford," Lorain Police Lt. Rich Resendez said. "Officer Wolford was down."

Resendez said that Ronnie was on top of Wolford, and Kopronica had no other alternative.

There is yet another twist to the case, however.

Until Saturday, Ronnie was a patient at a mental health facility. His parents thought that he'd been given a two-day pass to visit over the weekend, but when they went to return him on Monday night, they were told to take him home because he had been discharged.

In a printed statement, officials from the mental health facility wrote that they regretted the tragic situation, but would not confirm or deny any aspects of the case.

The Lorain County Mental Health Board has launched a full investigation.

Wolford is going to be OK, and Kopronica was placed on paid administrative leave, which is routine while a police shooting team puts together all of the facts.

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