New Castle News

October 23, 2012

Police officers involved in shooting are back to work

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Four officers involved in shooting a man during a domestic incident in Mahoningtown have been cleared for duty.

Meanwhile, Ivy Joseph Lanthier Jr., 43, remains in critical condition on a respirator in St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown. Police shot him twice in return fire during a standoff early Oct. 12, according to reports.

New Castle Police Chief Bobby Salem said the four officers — Robert Newton, Brandon Hallowich, Terry Dolquist and John Melnik — all have returned to patrol.

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa said Monday he has reviewed all the information — witnesses’ and officers’ statements, evidence from the scene and 911 calls — and has determined the shooting “was justified.”

He concluded no additional investigation or action should be taken against the officers.

They had been on administrative leave with pay during a state police investigation that followed the shooting. Salem had asked the state police to take over the probe, which ultimately was reviewed by Lamancusa.

According to Lamancusa, Lanthier suffered one gunshot wound in the chest and arm and one in the lower leg.

State police reported the four officers returned fire at Lanthier outside his home at 1 Mahoning Ave. around 12:15 a.m. after he had emerged from the house and fired three shots while police were in a barricade. They had surrounded the house after receiving reports of a hostage situation.

The incident began around 10 p.m., with Lanthier leaving to get a gun, then he returned to the house around 11:45 p.m. with a pistol and a shotgun, Lamancusa learned from family members. He noted the first 911 call was around midnight when Lanthier’s two daughters and wife left the house.

Family members’ statements said Lanthier had told them he wanted to die but couldn’t do it himself, Lamancusa said.

“I think he was going for the suicide by cop.”

 Court documents allege Lanthier went into his daughter’s bedroom shortly before midnight Oct. 11, carrying a 9 mm pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun and told her to get out of the house because he was taking her boyfriend as a hostage. Lanthier then fired a round from the pistol and a round from the shotgun into the ceiling.

He told her to leave the house and the boyfriend to go into the living room, and he continued pointing the weapon at him, police said.

The daughter and other family members left the house and his daughter called 911. His wife then got on the phone, Lamancusa said.

City officers surrounded the house, according to police, and Lanthier emerged holding the guns. When officers ordered him to drop them and get down, he refused and fired the pistol at one of the officers, causing them to return fire, according to police.

No one else was injured.

Troopers seized Lanthier’s guns and have charged him with four counts of felonious aggravated assault, six counts each of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment, and one count each of discharging a firearm into an occupied structure and unlawful restraint.

District Judge Jerry G. Cartwright issued an arrest warrant, to be served upon Lanthier’s release from medical care.