BLANCHESTER —A man who had threatened “suicide by cop” during an incident in the village Thursday night is the same man who caused the death of Springdale police officer Kaia Grant on Saturday, police said.
At around 8 p.m. Thursday Blanchester police officers were dispatched to the trailer park at 800 E. Center St., lot 32, on a report of a man with a gun breaking into the residence there, then fleeing in a maroon Chevrolet pick-up truck, according to Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt.
He said officers arrived and spoke with Krista Blankenship, 42.
“Mrs. Blankenship explained that she and her husband, Terry Blankenship, also age 42, separated in October of 2019, said Reinbolt. “Mrs. Blankenship stated she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Jordan, age 44, were in the back bedroom of the trailer when Terry Blankenship broke down the front door and entered the living room with a pistol in his hand.
“Mr. Blankenship communicated his intent to kill Jordan, pushed his way past Mrs. Blankenship and made his way to the bedroom, where Jordan was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. Blankenship pointed the gun at Jordan’s face, the two men struggled, Blankenship pistol-whipped Jordan and then fled the scene. Prior to fleeing the residence Blankenship commented that he ‘could have the police shoot him’.”
Blanchester officers requested that dispatch issue a bulletin via radio to surrounding law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Blankenship, that he was armed and had threatened “suicide by cop.”
Clinton County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrew McCoy was contacted at home, briefed on the case and approved the filing of a charge of aggravated burglary against Terry Blankenship.
“In the wee hours of Friday morning Sgt. Gary Mowen began investigating Blankenship’s background, and learned that he holds a CCW permit issued by the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office. He also found that Blankenship has four prior arrests for domestic violence and one prior arrest for assault, all in Clermont and Clinton counties.
”Those five cases resulted in two disorderly conduct convictions — a rather impotent consequence. Information was developed that Blankenship had been staying with a relative in Elmwood Place and was employed at a business in Loveland.
“On Friday morning (as a one-block area of downtown Blanchester was in flames) officers contacted and briefed the Loveland and Elmwood Place Police Departments and asked them to attempt to locate and arrest Blankenship. Both agencies undertook efforts to do so on Friday, but to no avail. Blanchester officers also obtained a warrant for Blankenship’s arrest on Friday morning.
“On Saturday night at around 8:30 p.m. Sgt. Mowen was notified by the Ohio State Highway Patrol that Blankenship had been arrested after a vehicle pursuit in which police officers were injured,” said Reinbolt.
“We are now aware that Springdale police officer Kaia Grant was killed in her effort to apprehend Blankenship,” Reinbolt said. “ Our hearts are heavy with grief for her, her fellow officers and her family. She died protecting the citizens of Blanchester, people she had never met.
“Words cannot express our gratitude. We are also grateful to the Elmwood Place Police Department, the Loveland Police Department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and especially the Springdale Police Department for their efforts to bring Blankenship to justice”
Kaia Grant, 33, is the first police fatality in the line of duty in the history of Springdale, Mayor Doyle Webster said at a weekend news conference.
Officers in another jurisdiction began the pursuit, which entered Springdale city limits, SPringdale Police Chief Thomas Wells said. Grant and Davis tried to stop the suspect, but at some point during the pursuit, the suspect collided with their cruiser on an interstate.
Grant was treated at the scene and airlifted to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, Wells said. She had been with Springdale police for eight years.
The suspect is in custody and a firearm was recovered at the scene, Wells said. He didn’t identify the jurisdiction in which the chase began or why the person was being pursued. No charges were immediate announced and an investigation is ongoing, with the assistance of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Police spokesman Keenan Riordan said the suspect is hospitalized.
Davis, who has been with the department for three decades, was released from the hospital and present at the news conference.
Wells thanked those officers for coming to the station to help, as well as departments from around Hamilton County for offering support. He highlighted the agencies covering the city for the department.
“Frankly we’re not in a position to do this right now,” he said. “We’re hurting.”
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered U.S. and Ohio state flags flown at half-staff in honor of Grant.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.