In Remembrance (28 years) Ashland County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant, John Paul Gisclon, Badge 08
Updated: Jan 19
End of Watch (EOW) Saturday, January 14, 1995, Age 47.
WARNING: This story contains a graphic, detailed description of the events that transpired on Saturday, January 14, 1995.
The shooting happened at approximately 3:00 a.m. on January 14, 1995. By the early morning hours of Monday, January 16, 1995, information coming in, began to paint the heartbreaking picture of the shooting death of Lt. John Gisclon, a 21-year veteran of the Ashland County Sheriff's Office. The shooter, Bobby Staton Jr., age 25, was dead, and Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Lee Sredniawa was shot twice.
WHO WAS LT. JOHN PAUL GISCLON?
John Paul Gisclon was born on January 20th, 1948, in San Francisco California to Paul & Edna Gisclon. John grew up in New London, Ohio, and was a 1967 graduate of New London High School.
John was married to Renee Gisclon at the time of his death. He was the father of two daughters.
John was a Veteran of the U.S. Army. He served during the Vietnam Conflict, from 1968 to 1971. He later served in the Ohio Military Reserve, attaining the rank of second lieutenant.
John was a 21-year veteran Law Enforcement Officer. He was a Huron County Sheriff's Deputy and a Patrolman with the Monroeville Police Department, prior to joining the Ashland County Sheriff's Department in 1973. He was promoted to lieutenant, in July of 1976.
During his years in law enforcement, he was certified in numerous training courses, including crime scene search and evidence, street drugs: recognition and identification, narcotics investigation, and crack houses.
John was also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association Lifesaving Award for two separate incidents in 1991, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol Lifesaving Award in 1992.
Lt. John Gisclon was the shift commander for the Ashland Sherriff’s Office for 2nd shift, 4p.m.-12p.m.
EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE SHOOTING
A burglary call, at the Fin Feather Fur Outfitters sporting goods store around 2a.m., on State Route 250 East set things in motion, that would forever change the lives of John’s family, the law enforcement community, and the Ashland community.
Bobby Staton Jr., age 25, was a resident of Ashland, Ohio.
Bobby Staton Jr. had previously been hospitalized for alleged mental health problems and had previously made several threats against police officers.
EVENTS OF THE MORNING OF JANUARY 14, 1995
According to Ashland County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) records, Ohio Highway Patrol (OHP) records, Press Releases and Ashland County Coroner records, the following events transpired in the early morning hours, of January 14, 1995.
Note: Lt. John Gisclon was working overtime, this was one of his days off.
Ashland County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a breaking and entering at the Fin Feather Fur Outfitters, located on US-250, east of I-71, that occurred at 2:00am. Captain Roger Martin, Lt. Ted Conley, and Deputy George Staley were on scene with Lt. John Gisclon, checking the area.
Trooper Lee Sredniawa, of the Ashland Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol was on station processing a DUI from a previous traffic stop.
The Ashland Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office had received reports of a subject that fit the description of a person involved in the burglary, walking along US-250, in the area of Bailey Lakes. The description came out as a W/M, (White Male) long hair, dressed in black.
Lt. Gisclon was dispatched to check on the subject. Leaving the Fin Feather Fur area, it didn’t take long for Lt. Gisclon to reach the Bailey Lakes area. Radio reports indicate that Lt. Gisclon drove up to the 250/60 split and found nothing, even making a radio call that he passed the post vehicle which was coming North on 250.
Lt. Gisclon’s duty weapon was an AMT Hardballer .45ACP (At that time, there was no standard issue, the officers bought their own duty weapon).
At approximately 3:02 a.m., Lt. Gisclon radioed that he was at Lee's Family Inn, on SR 250 North, in Bailey Lakes. Approximately 30 seconds later, John requested that Trooper Sredniawa meet him at that location. That was the last communication anyone had with Lt. Gisclon.
Throughout the investigation, it was determined that Lt. Gisclon spotted Bobby Staton and pulled his cruiser into the Southbound Lane of SR 250, but facing Northbound, and exited his cruiser. It is believed that Lt. Gisclon and Bobby Staton engaged in a physical struggle, and when Bobby Staton pulled a 9mm Stallard Arms Pistol, Lt. Gisclon is believed to have ducked while moving to the rear of his cruiser for cover.
One of Bobby Staton’s shots hit Lt. Gisclon in the lower back, just under his beltline, and traveled up and exited out the front of his chest, and the other shot went through the front wall of Lee's Family Inn.
Note: Lt. Gisclon was not wearing his vest; it was found in the trunk of his cruiser.
At 3:03:33a.m. Trooper Sredniawa advises that he is at the restaurant. According to an OHP report, Trooper Sredniawa stated that when he arrived, he observed Lt. Gisclon's cruiser parked in the Southbound Lane of SR 250, but the cruiser was facing Northbound. At that time, Trooper Sredniawa said that he did not see Lt. Gisclon, either in his cruiser, or in the immediate vicinity.
Trooper Sredniawa immediately exited his own vehicle and began approaching Lt. Gisclon's cruiser.
Trooper Sredniawa would later describe the horrifying details. The report stated, as Trooper Sredniawa approached the cruiser, a male subject later identified as Bobby Staton Jr. “popped up” from behind the rear of the Sheriff’s car, and began firing at Trooper Sredniawa, which turned into a violent physical confrontation.
Trooper Sredniawa drew his weapon and returned fire, as he sought cover between the two cruisers.
Note: Trooper Sredniawa’s service weapon was a Berreta 96D .40 caliber with 10 in the magazine, and 1 in the chamber.
Bobby Staton Jr. charged at him, screaming as he fired his weapon.
Bobby Staton and Trooper Sredniawa continued to exchange gunfire, until Bobby Staton Jr. grabbed the Trooper by the jacket, and pushed him into a grassy area at the side of the road. Bobby Staton was fighting to kill, and Trooper Sredniawa was fighting for his life!
The fighting had become so intense in those few seconds, that Trooper Sredniawa had Staton by the hair of the head with his left-hand, and his weapon in his right hand, just inches from Staton’s head. In a desperate attempt to stop the madness, Trooper Sredniawa fired two rounds into Bobby Staton Jr.’s head. As the last shot rang out, the bullet from the Berreta 96D .40 Caliber, shot through the webbing of Trooper Sredniawa’s left-hand, into Bobby’s head, ending Bobby’s attack.
Trooper Sredniawa then moved to the rear of the Sheriff’s cruiser, where he observed Lt. Gisclon for the first time. Lt. Gisclon was lying on the ground having suffered a gunshot wound. Trooper Sredniawa then crawled to the front of Lt. Gisclon’s Sheriff’s cruiser, to cover Bobby Staton. At that time, the trooper was not sure Bobby was dead.
Note: Trooper Sredniawa had fired 10 rounds, striking Bobby Staton 8 times!
It was later discovered that Trooper Sredniawa’s badge was torn off his jacket and was found in Staton's hand.
3:09:57am: Deputy Gene Pence arrives and radios that Lt. Gisclon and Trooper Sredniawa have been shot, and that he began administering CPR aid to Lt. Gisclon.
3:14:00am: Savannah EMS arrived at the scene and began administering aid to Lt. Gisclon.
When the emergency squad arrived and began administering aid to Lt. Gisclon, they found a weapon under his body. It was determined that the gun belonged to Bobby Staton Jr., and it was the one that that was used to kill Lt. Gisclon. The weapon used to assault Trooper Sredniawa was Lt. Gisclon’s duty weapon, a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun.
Retired Chief Deputy, Carl L. Richert, who was a Captain at the time of the shooting and investigated the shooting, said he believes that Bobby Staton’s gun malfunctioned after the second shot, but by then Lt. Gisclon was down and Staton took Gisclon’s gun, disregarding his, by Gisclon’s body. However, there are only two people that know what happened for sure, and they are both dead.
One officer's first observation at the scene was that of Lt. John Gisclon lying on his back, behind his own Patrol Car (3-26). Lt. Gisclon appeared to be unconscious and non-responsive, as Deputy Pence administered CPR assisted by another, not identified.
As this officer began walking to the front of Lt. Gisclon’s cruiser this officer observed a white male subject, lying beside the road in a ditch, covered in blood. The subject appeared to be deceased.
Laying on the hood of Lt. Gisclon’s cruiser, was OSP Officer Lee Sredniawa. Trooper Sredniawa was on his back, appeared to be fully conscious and aware of his surroundings and in obvious pain. Trooper Sredniawa appeared to have a serious injury to the bottom part of his right leg. Sgt. Pressler stood with Trooper Sredniawa for reassurance and comfort, until he could be moved to an ambulance.
03:21:00am: Savannah Squad left the scene enroute to Samaritan Hospital arriving at Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room by 3:28:00am.
03:24am: Detective Larry A. Martin arrived at the scene.
At 0346 hours Captain Roger Martin instructed an officer to begin keeping a log of all persons entering and leaving the crime scene. Persons present within the crime scene at 0346 hours were Captain Roger Martin, Captain Carl Richert, Sgt. Mike Deaton, Deputy Gene Pence, and Deputy Rich Dittrich.
Entering the scene at 0348 hours was Detective Larry Martin. Entering the scene at 0351 hours were Lt. Robert Ferguson and Sgt. Pressler of the Highway Patrol.
At 0352 hours Detective Russ Crossen, Coroner Dr. Emery and Coroner assistant Karen Emery arrived at the scene.
0358am: Sgt. Larry Goon arrived at the scene.
At 0407 hours Fireman Chip Poland, of Savannah Fire Department, was at the scene assisting Dr. Emery and Karen Emery with the body of Bobby Staton Jr.
Note: It was later determined that Bobby Staton Jr. was not involved in the earlier burglary.
Note: It is believed that John knew Bobby from the truck stop where Bobby worked.
The Ashland County Sheriff's Department investigated the shooting, assisted by the Ohio State Patrol, the Ashland County Prosecutor's Office, and the Ashland County Coroner's Office.
Officials stated that three different caliber weapons were found at the shooting scene and preliminary tests reveal that all three weapons were fired during the shooting.
OHP NOTE: A check with the Ashland County Sheriff Department at 08:34:26 by the Ashland Post recorder showed that their recorder was 2 seconds behind and showed 08:34:24. This indicates a 2 second time difference between the recorders with the Post recorder being before the Sheriff's information and units referred to in the tape.
Sheriff E. Wayne Risner commented, “Losing a Law Enforcement Officer in the line of duty is absolutely devastating for not only the Sheriff's Office, but for all surrounding police and public safety agencies throughout the State and beyond. Losing Lt. Gisclon had an immediate and lasting impact on the entire Ashland Community. Words cannot describe the feelings of sadness, numbness, and pure anger everyone was feeling after this tragic event! During and after losing Lt. Gisclon the work still had to go on. I can assure you that no one working that day has ever forgotten any details from that terrible day January 14, 1995!”
Retired Chief Deputy, Carl L. Richert, who helped with the investigation reflects his experience at the time of the shooting. “The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office dispatch called me on the telephone that morning and advised me that Lt. Gisclon had been shot and killed and the suspect was also shot and killed, and a Trooper had been wounded after being shot twice by the suspect in Bailey Lakes, on Rt. 250 north. I responded and met Sheriff Larry E. Overholt and Captain Roger Martin on the scene. The investigation was started, and evidence was collected at the scene.”
“Lt. John Paul Gisclon was my second shift supervisor and was working overtime when this incident occurred,” Carl Richert recalled. “His family had to be notified and the suspects family had to be notified and this difficult task was completed.”
Retired Chief Deputy, Carl L. Richert recounts, “I remember, John always made his job fun to do and attempted to train others in proper precursors in Law Enforcement. He liked to joke around with the other deputies and would sometime meet them for lunch when he wasn't tied up on calls, he worked closely with Sheriff Larry E. Overholt.”
“Johns’ family, a wife and two daughters were the most important part in Johns’ life, the Sheriff’s Office was second,” Carl Richert continued. “I had the job of setting up the funeral with the family and the Law Enforcement family. Being the second Deputy at the Ashland County Sheriff’s office killed in the line of duty since 1982 (remembering Sgt. Glenn Sturgill August 02,1982), I knew it would also be a large funeral and everything had to be set up correctly to show respect to Lt. John Gisclon and his family. With hundreds of local, state and out of state officers, local Firefighters and EMTs attending, and their cruisers and fire trucks for the funeral procession to the cemetery, the funeral route had to be set up, with deputies and police officer manning the intersections, and where the citizens could line the funeral route to pay their respects to the fallen deputy.”
Carl Richert concluded, “I know John is up in heaven looking down, watching over his friends and the deputies he worked with and trained. John, we all miss you and pay our respects to you and Sgt. Glenn Sturgill every May, since 1982, at the Annual Police Officers’ Memorial service held by the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, Ashland Police Division, and Ohio Highway Patrol Ashland Post. Rest in peace."
I recently spoke with retired Ashland County Coroner’s Investigator, Karen Emery. She spoke of the memories that haunt her to this day. Karen Emery retells her experience as follows:
“Having worked in the medical field and 25 years as a Coroner’s Investigator you have those experiences that haunt you, ones that wake you in the night with a pounding heart in your chest. Lt Gisclon’s passing was and is still one of those. I relive it, even though I try my hardest to not think about it, it still pops up unexpectedly. Little did Dr. Emery and I know that night that we would be attending two deaths.
Doc was rushed to the ER to attend to the Lt. as he was the surgeon on call. Both the scene on US 250, and at Samaritan Hospital ER was horrific. The adrenaline was flowing through myself and all the first responders. Everyone was shocked, hurt, and angry. We all had an unpleasant job to do, and we knew how very, very important it was to do it correctly.
I had to shut down all emotions, put it on the back burner and get to work. It was days of hard work, stress, and much sadness. You learn that you have to disconnect a little in order to do your job, but it most definitely hits you later again and again. I never wanted to go through something like that again, but I did. John was a friend and colleague; we worked on a few cases together. He was always helpful, kind, and respectful.”
In researching this story, I saw in the Detectives report, who was in the crime scene area, and one of the names I recognized was Chip Poland, who was a Fireman & EMT with the Savannah Fire Department. I told him I saw his name in the reports and asked him what he remembered about it.
Chip Poland told me, “Yes, I remember about the night Lt. Gisclon was killed. So many years ago, and honestly, I taught my brain to forget all the EMS calls and the terrible things my eyes saw over all those years. Had to stay sane. I remember being a scared to death 20-year-old EMT. A cop was shot, someone I knew in Ashland County. That stuff doesn't happen here, only in the big cities. I remember being scared about who, what, where was the gunman?”
Chip went on to say, “When we got there it was dark, the roads were wet and shiny, and there were cop car lights flashing everywhere. Most of the details of the call have been erased from my brain. I remember how the whole community came together afterwards. Again, this was our friend, a loved and respected member of our community. This was big city stuff, not supposed to happen here. I think the feelings are hard to put into words for many of us, who chose careers in Fire Service or law Enforcement: Losing a good friend, a great guy, one of us, feelings of fear, of not understanding of the senselessness of it all.”
Ashland County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy David Blake told me, “The night that Lt. John Gisclon was killed was a devastating loss to law enforcement and his family. I was a close friend of his, and I learned a lot from him. He is always in my thoughts and it's just a reminder of the seriousness of the oath that we have taken as Peace Officers.”
Retired Captain Mike Kyle commented, “John was my training officer when I was a Special Deputy with the Sheriff's Office. We would ride together every weekend. Later, when I became full time in Corrections/Dispatch, I was assigned to 2nd shift and worked even more with John. John had a good sense of humor, as we would prank him occasionally, from his exploits (The drag pursuit shoes was one of those pranks). When I got word, that John was shot, I dressed so fast that I forgot socks. I took our crime scene truck to the scene where I helped document the crime scene and collected evidence. The night, pretty much, passed in a blur. I think the sense of loss set in about the 2nd day, when I had to attend the autopsy. John was a friend and a mentor. I am proud to have known him."
Retired Lieutenant Smart said, “We were called in because of the shooting. It was cold and there were Law Enforcement from everywhere. John was very highly thought of.”
According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, on average—one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty, somewhere in the United States every 57 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.
According to Ohio COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors), Ohio ranks 5th in the nation for the number of police officers killed in the line of duty.
The Ohio Fallen Officers Memorial Wall, on the grounds of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, bears the names of all 814 law enforcement officers who have died on the job since 1823.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS STARTING AT MIDNIGHT ON SUNDAY JANUARY 13, 1995, INTO THE AM HOURS OF JANUARY 14, 1995:
12:00:00am: Ashland Police Division receives call of intoxicated male walking Northbound on Cottage Street. APD Officer, Super stops Bobby Staton. The report said Bobby Staton did not appear to be intoxicated, and Staton had his hand in his right front jacket pocket but removed it when requested to do so by Super. Staton told Officer Super he was walking to friends.
12:22am: Gisclon radios Code 86 (Traffic stop) on 250 North of the Ridge.
12:36am: Gisclon radios Signal 35 (Back in Service) with 1 citation issued.
1:05am: Trooper Sredniawa of the Ashland Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol radios, he is East of the Post, on SR 250 handling a DUI.
Note: Ashland Post Trooper Sredniawa, had only graduated six months earlier, on July 8, 1994, as a member of 126th Academy class.
1:15am: Gisclon radios mark time.
1:16am: Gisclon Code 86 (Traffic stop) with a car from North Carolina on the North side of Bailey Lakes.
1:27am: Gisclon radios Signal 35 (Back in Service) with 1 citation issued.
1:29am: Trooper Sredniawa on post with DUI for test.
2:00am: Gisclon radios Signal 13 (Special Detail) in Bailey Lakes.
2:08am: OHP Post receives CB report ref burglar alarm going off at Fin Feather Fur; Trooper Sredniawa to respond, as soon as he completed DUI processing.
2:10am: OHP Post 3 notifies Sheriff’s Office of Fin Feather Fur situation.
2:13am: Gisclon radios Signal 35 (Back in Service) and enroute to Fin Feather Fur.
2:18am: Trooper Sredniawa enroute to Fin Feather Fur.
2:21am: Gisclon radios Signal 33 (In the Area) checking 63.
2:24am: OHP Post advises drivers to BOLO (Be on the lookout) for hitchhikers on I-71, in reference to burglary; driver advises just saw a hitchhiker Westbound on 250, 5 min. ago, 2 mi. West of 250 and 71, W/M, (White Male) long hair, dressed in black.
2:50am: Trooper Sredniawa dispatches to check report of W/M, long blond hair, black jacket, walking North, out of Ashland, on 250 towards Bailey Lakes; Sheriff’s Office reports they have one in custody, unknown how many more are involved.
2:50:24am: Gisclon dispatches to check NB on 250 towards Bailey Lakes for subject walking NB, wearing black jacket.
2:51am: Trooper Sredniawa enroute to Bailey Lakes area; Post dispatcher talks to Sheriff’s Office dispatcher who advised Gisclon is also enroute.
2:51am: Gisclon dispatched to check area of 250 NB near Bailey Lakes,
2:57:08am: Fin Feather Fur situation on cleared - end emergency radio traffic.
3:00:01am: Trooper calls in a disabled vehicle on 250, and then states disregard.
3:01:21am: Gisclon radios that he checked area to 250/60 split and found nothing.
3:01:38am: Gisclon radios that he passed the post vehicle which was coming North on 250.
3:02:01am: Trooper Sredniawa states he checked Savannah and Bailey Lakes area and has seen no sign of the suspect.
3:02:11am: Gisclon radios that he is at the restaurant in Bailey Lakes.
3:02:47am: Gisclon requests the Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher to contact the post Dispatcher to have 17 (Trooper Sredniawa) to come to his location.
3:03:19am: ACSO calls post and requests trooper meet with Gisclon at restaurant in Savannah.
3:03:33am: Trooper Sredniawa advises he is at the restaurant.
3:04:07am: Trooper Sredniawa radios that he has been shot.
3:04:14am: OHP Post dispatcher radios check up to Trooper.
3:04:43am: Sheriff’s Office dispatcher radios check- up on Gisclon - no response.
3:04:45am: Trooper Sredniawa radios he needs an ambulance; states he has been shot; states he does not know Gisclon’s location; send units - send units.
3:04:58am: Sheriff’s Office dispatcher check- up on Gisclon again - no response.
3:05:15am: OHP Post dispatcher calls ACSO and advises Sheriff’s Office dispatcher that officer has been shot, Sheriff’s Office dispatcher advise will call ambulance.
3:05:34am: Sheriff’s Office dispatcher advise Code 40 (Person with Gun) to all units.
3:05:44am: OHP Post dispatcher radios check -up on Trooper.
3:05:47am: Trooper Sredniawa responds to check-up - "do you copy, right?"
3:05:52am: Trooper Sredniawa advises that Gisclon is down and bleeding profusely.
3:06:03am: Trooper Sredniawa advises again that Gisclon is bleeding severely.
03:06:29am: Post to Post 39 advising sig 88 250 in Savannah.
3:07:04am: Sheriff’s Office dispatcher advises all units that Gisclon is shot also.
03:07:15am: Post to P-47 advising sig 88 request units restaurant in Savannah.
3:08:00am: Savannah Volunteer Fire Department receives call “Officers Down.”
03:08:00am: 634 to post to check with Richland County to see if they have a unit in the area.
3:08:10am: OHP Post dispatcher notifies Lt. Ferguson of “Shots Fired” and “Officers Down.”
3:09:57am: Deputy Pence radios that Gisclon and the Trooper have been shot; contact U-l.
03:10:10am: Post to 390 advising 284 has been advised.
03:10:25am: Mansfield Post to post advising U-128 is enroute scene.
03:11:30am: Norwalk Post to post advising Huron County SO has a unit in New London who will be enroute.
03:11:45am: post advising suspect still at large.
3:14:00am: Savannah Squad arrives at the scene.
3:21:00am: Savannah Squad enroute to Samaritan Hospital.
3:28:00am: Savannah Squad arrives at Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room.