TOLEDO (WTOL) - A man suspected in his grandmother’s grisly death was killed at Toledo Police headquarters on Thursday after he rushed at police with an officer’s Taser.
The Warren Police Department confirmed that Damon Barstad, 23, of Warren, Michigan, was arrested Thursday morning at Days Inn on Miami Street on murder charges.
He was in Toledo Police custody Thursday afternoon, accused of stabbing and killing his 68-year-old grandmother, Rene Morrissette, and stuffing her body in a recycling bin in the garage of her Detroit-area home.
Toledo Chief George Kral said Barstad, who was not handcuffed, asked to leave the holding cell to go to the bathroom and rushed the officer.
Two other officers then pushed him back into the cell.
The suspect the grabbed an officer's Taser and the suspect was shot with one round to the chest.
"Out of courtesy for him, we did not have him handcuffs," Chief George Kral said, because Barstad would have been sitting in cuffs for hours waiting.
The suspect had been there for several hours, Kral said, had been bought food, and he was not showing any aggression. He was waiting to be taken to the jail.
Chief said video of the incident will be released later. He said officers are being interviewed and an investigation is underway by an internal affairs and a firearms review will be conducted. The information will be presented later to the Lucas County Grand Jury by the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office.
"Detectives are investigating a shooting inside Toledo Police headquarters Thursday afternoon. At about 12:30 p.m., Damon Barstad, age 23 of Warren, Michigan, charged officers as they opened the holding cell he was being held in. During the struggle, Barstad, a homicide suspect out of Warren, Michigan, was shot once by a Toledo Police officer and died at the scene. Barstad was not handcuffed at the time of the shooting and had gained control of an officer’s Taser.
Warren Police Department detectives took Barstad into custody around 3:30 a.m. this morning at the Days Inn hotel (1800 Miami St., Toledo, OH). Barstad was wanted in relation to a homicide that occurred in Warren, Michigan. Warren PD requested Toledo Police assistance and Barstad was then transported to the Safety Building, Toledo Police headquarters, where he was temporarily detained during the time of the shooting.
Detectives continue to investigate this incident and will be conducting numerous witness interviews. In addition, an Internal Affairs investigation and Firearms Review will be conducted. As in all officer-involved shootings, the case will be presented to the Lucas County Grand Jury by the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office."
When asked why he was not taken to the jail, Kral said the suspect was awaiting a warrant to come down and it was out of courtesy and comfort that the suspect not be handcuffed for hours while waiting.
He was simply waiting here for the warrant to get to Toledo and then would be transferred, Kral said. Barstad was arrested in 3:30 in the morning and the warrant process took hours.
When the shooting happened, only Toledo officers were around him.
He was shot by a uniformed officer with eight years of experience. The officer will be placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure.
“I’m not for a second going to second guess an officer in a deadly force situation. That’s something that happens in the blink of an eye and if the officer felt his life was in danger or someone else’s life was in danger, that’s when that decision is made,” Kral said.
The names of the officers are to be released Monday.
Kral estimated five or six officers were involved in the struggle.
At noon, Warren Police sent over a first degree murder warrant to extradite Barstad back into their jurisdiction.
An officer reported a person was shot inside Toledo Police headquarters, 525 N. Erie St., around 12:30 p.m. The officer called for a life squad.
Warren Police said they found out Barstad was shot shortly thereafter.
An ambulance and a firetruck were seen outside the Safety Building a just before 1 p.m., but left by 1:10 p.m. A stretcher carried out of the Safety Building had no one on it.
Toledo Police said in a tweet that their headquarters are secure.
“All officers are safe and there is no additional threat; however, please avoid the Safety Building at this time. Additional information will be released as soon as possible,” a tweet read.