Mayor caught in crossfire of shooting in Clayton

Ron Nunnari Independent Editor

November 19, 2013

CLAYTON — Police are investigating a shooting that took place near the intersection of Heathcliff Road and State Route 48 (Main Street) in the city of Clayton around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Clayton Mayor Joyce Deitering was caught in the crossfire as she was leaving her office after returning from a mayor’s and manger’s meeting in Piqua. Deitering was not hurt, but it is believed her vehicle was struck by at least one bullet. Clayton Police Chief Rick Rose had just dropped Deitering off at her office, which is located adjacent to the shooting scene. Rose and Deitering had both attended the mayor’s and manager’s meeting together.

Police were questioning one person involved in the incident at police headquarters at midnight.

According to Rose, at approximately 9 p.m. he was leaving the area of Heathcliff and Main Street and he heard what sounded to be a vehicle crash followed by the sound of a second crash.

“As I pulled out of the lot to see where the vehicle crash had occurred I observed what appeared to be a dark, full-sized SUV fleeing at a high rate of speed southbound on Main Street with heavy smoke coming from the front of the vehicle and I could see it had a damaged front end,” Rose said. “I observed two vehicles off the side of the road and in the roadway between Heathcliff and Garber roads on Main Street going northbound and I proceeded to pursue the vehicle that was fleeing the scene.”

Rose said as he pursued the SUV south on Main Street the vehicle reached speeds over 70 miles per hour and turned off its lights around Westbrook Road and Main Street approximately one half mile south of Heathcliff. At that point he lost sight of the vehicle as it continued to flee south.

While returning to the scene he learned that several shots had been fired at Heathcliff and Main and other police crews responded to investigate. Shortly thereafter Rose said a report came in that near Shiloh Springs Road and Main there was another report of shots fired and that there was a vehicle at that location with bullet holes in it.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to Shiloh Springs Road and Main to an Urgent Care facility where allegedly there was a person with gunshot wounds to their hand.

“We were checking the area of Main and Heathcliff for shooters and found two people that occupied one vehicle that had been struck in the traffic accident but who were not involved in the shooting,” Rose said. “However, they did see subjects exit another vehicle and fire shots as they chased somebody on foot going down Main Street. There’s a lot of information we have to clear up as far what did, or did not occur. We were able to recover some shell casings on Main Street near Heathcliff and we do have two vehicles that were involved in a crash and left at the scene that have been towed.”

One of the vehicles involved in the crash is a rental vehicle with Texas license plates. Police have questioned the driver of that vehicle and police determined the passenger that was in that vehicle is the one who ended up at the Urgent Care at Shiloh Springs Road and Main. The passenger got out of the vehicle with Texas plates and got into another vehicle and asked to be transported to Urgent Care.

According to Rose, the driver of the vehicle with Texas tags stated that he was down in Dayton near Roosters and felt that he had cut in front of another driver on Main Street and had brake checked them which led to a case of road rage.

“They began to chase each other and shots were fired and his friend was struck somewhere in the Dayton or Harrison Township area while he was still in the car,” Rose said. “The driver thought he lost the other vehicle until he came up into Clayton at which point his vehicle was struck from behind by the other vehicle. The case is currently under investigation.”

Rose said Mayor Deitering had called him fearing that he had been hurt in the shooting. She didn’t see Rose after he dropped her off and pulled out of her parking lot. Deitering told Rose that after she pulled out onto Main Street and headed north, that she saw the gunshots and that at least one of the shots had struck her car. Rose said police would be photographing Deitering’s car Wednesday morning as she drove straight home after being caught in the crossfire.