Oak Harbor shooting suspect was employed by Pemberville PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Friday, 29 March 2013 09:15
File photo. People grieve outside the scene where a suspected gunman forced his way into a home and killed his estranged wife Wednesday, March 27, 2013, near Oak Harbor, Ohio. (AP Photo/News-Herald, Jonathon Bird)
PEMBERVILLE - A man the village of Pemberville recently hired to eventually become superintendent of its water plant was involved in a deadly domestic incident Wednesday morning in neighboring Ottawa County.
Mayor Gordon Bowman confirmed Thursday afternoon that Randall J. Ross started working for the village in January. He was "training to become the village's water plant superintendent."
According to information from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, Ross, 47, of rural Fremont, broke into a rural Oak Harbor home Wednesday morning where his estranged wife, Amy Ross, 47, was staying with a sister and niece. The sheriff's report said Ross killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. He was taken from the scene by air ambulance to St. Vincent Mercy-Medical Center in Toledo.
No information on his condition was available today.
"We want to support all of our village employees," Bowman said. "We have met with employees and they have been offered counseling, if they desire," the mayor said. "This is a tragedy. We are doing our best to deal with it."
Information from the Ottawa County Sheriff's report indicates that Jody Hatfield, chief of the Carroll Township Police Department, was the first to arrive on the scene of the shooting at 3121 N. Leutz Road.
Hatfield made contact with the wounded Ross in the driveway of the residence.
The body of Amy Ross was found in the home. Her sister, Andrea Swope, 44, who called police, and Swope's daughter, were not harmed. Swope reportedly took the gun from Ross after he had shot himself.
Neither Swope nor her daughter were injured.
Bowman said Ross previously worked for the Ottawa County Sanitary Engineer's Office.
According to the Port Clinton News Herald, Ross worked for the Ottawa County agency from 1987 until March 2011 when he resigned after being accused of theft. The investigation indicated Ross had switched out a broken cordless drill he owned with a working one owned by the county. He later alleged wrong-doing in the agency, which resulted in one employee being demoted, the paper reported.
Bowman said the village's Board of Public Affairs will likely consider how to handle the situation at its regular meeting on Monday. Village council's next regular meeting is Tuesday night.
Last fall council set in motion plans to replace long-term water plant superintendent Gale Loebrich, who is nearing retirement. Because of changes in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System, Loebrich  spoke to council at its Oct. 2, 2012 meeting. He asked council to consider adopting a retire-rehire policy that would allow him to retire under the old system and return to work until his potential replacement could be hired, learn the plant operation and obtain the necessary certification.
Council approved the ordinance Oct. 16 and set about the process that eventually hired Ross.
Bowman said Loebrich remains superintendent of the water plant.

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