Three Dead, Officer Shot in Fulton County Standoff

At least 20 police units from around the county responded.
At least 20 police units from around the county responded.

FULTON COUNTY -- A domestic violence call ended in the deaths of three people, and the wounding of a Fulton County Sheriff's deputy and a woman.  The Fulton County Sheriff's Office confirms that a man who barricaded his family inside his house has killed his two children, ages 10 and 5, then turned the gun on himself.

According to a news release from the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, the standoff started as an "injured person" call just after 7:00am near the intersection of County Road 2 and County Road E. That's in Swanton, in Fulton County, about 30 miles west of Toledo.  The EMS crew called to the scene found Patricia Saunders, who said she had been stabbed by her husband.  They put her into the ambulance, and called for law enforcement.

The sheriff's office says Deputy Rick Brock arrived a short time later, and the medical crew told him the suspect was in the house with 2 children. Brock went into the house, and encountered 58-year-old Clarence Saunders in the hall.  The release says Saunders ran down the hall into a bedroom, and when Brock went into the room, Saunders fired a gun three times.

The bullets hit Brock twice in the shoulder.  One was deflected by his bullet-resistant vest, while the other was not.  Brock retreated from the house, and called for backup.

Police crews from the Lucas and Henry County Sheriff's Departments, Swanton and Delta Police Departments, the Ohio State Forestry Ranger, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Bureau of Criminal Investigation all went to the scene.  They blocked off the roads leading to the scene for about a half-mile around.

Since there were still children inside the house, the Fulton County Sheriff's Department says a hostage negotiator made repeated calls to the house.  By this time, it was 9:35.  When there was no answer, the department sent a team from the Lucas County Sheriff's Department into the house, where they found Saunders, his daughter Lauren Saunders, 10, and his son Jacob Saunders, 5.  All were dead from gunshot wounds.

Deputy Brock and Patricia Saunders were flown by helicopter to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center for treatment.  Their wounds are not thought the be life-threatening.

Assistant Fulton County Coroner Dr. Kenton Kamp had all 3 victims taken to Lucas County for autopsies.  The Fulton County Sheriff's Office and Ohio Bureau of Investigation and Identification are both investigating.

Neighbors describe the Saunders' as "private people." They were also described as animal lovers, keeping a mountain lion named "Ranger" that they rescued as a cub as a pet.  They also kept several horses, according to a family friend.

Count on News 11 for complete coverage as more details become available.

Updated by AEB