Mahoning Sportsmans Association

The Mahoning Sportsmans Association in Hillsville. 

Four people are recovering from stab wounds and a Union Township officer is temporarily on administrative leave after a fracas at a sportsman’s club Saturday left a knife-wielding suspect dead.

State police are investigating the incident that occurred inside the Mahoning Sportsmans Association in Hillsville where the Union officer shot and killed the reported offender, 34-year-old Christopher Rush.

A Mahoning Township police officer was treated for a knife wound in the back and had to get stitches, according to Mahoning Township police Chief Robert Sipe. Sipe said the wounded officer is off work this week and is expected to return to duty next week.

Union Township police Chief Mark Julian reported that the officer who shot and killed Rush remains on leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.

He said the officer is “doing OK.”

State police Cpl. Randy Guy said the three other civilians Rush injured with the knife have been released from the hospital and did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Lawrence County Deputy Coroner Anthony “Bo” DeCarbo said an autopsy performed on Rush showed he died of multiple gunshot wounds to the trunk. His death is ruled as a homicide because he was killed by another person. The coroner’s office is awaiting toxicology tests.

DeCarbo said he did not go to the scene, but pronounced Rush dead at 12:18 a.m. Sunday after his body was transported from the sportsman’s club to the hospital.

Guy said investigators are still trying to find out what prompted Rush to launch an attack on multiple people. The police are awaiting a conclusive report from its investigative team, which he said will be released by the Lawrence County District Attorney.

According to state police, several police departments had responded to the call concerning multiple stabbings, shortly after 9 p.m. at the club at 3839 Main Street in Mahoning Township.

They arrived to find officers in an encounter with Rush, who they said was responsible for stabbing a 37-year-old Youngstown man, a 61-year-old Struthers, Ohio, man and a 15-year-old boy.

Rush was armed with “a cutting instrument” and during the fray assaulted and injured the Mahoning Township officer, police reported. The Union Township officer then drew and fired his service weapon at Rush, killing him.

Saturday was the association’s annual field day, a family day that included a children’s carnival, bands and fireworks.

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Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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