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Published: Sunday, 4/1/2007

Grieving relatives battle police in East Toledo

BY ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A police officer and a relative asssist Michelle Horton, center, after she found out that her son, Ricardo Horton, was dead. A police officer and a relative asssist Michelle Horton, center, after she found out that her son, Ricardo Horton, was dead.
JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

A somber scene in East Toledo turned violent briefly yesterday when a dead man's grieving relatives scuffled with police investigating his apparent shooting death.

At least four people were arrested at the Mott Avenue house where the body of Ricardo Horton, 28, whose last known address was 727 North Michigan Ave., was found about 9 a.m. yesterday by a meter reader.

She noticed the body inside the rear door of 1401 Mott, police said.

Neighbors told The Blade they'd seen Mr. Horton in the neighborhood, and he often stayed at the apartment.

Police strung yellow caution tape around the scene as they interviewed neighbors and loved ones and gathered evidence. Witnesses told police they'd heard commotion between Mr. Horton and another man around midnight, and one neighbor said he yelled at them, according to a police report.

Sgt. Bob Maxwell would not comment on whether the death was a homicide, suicide, or accident, saying investigators will await a coroner's determination after an autopsy on Monday.

The melee began when a cousin of Mr. Horton, Allen Sims, 30, of 645 Spring St., arrived at the house. The obviously distraught Mr. Sims spied family members huddled together - many of them crying - on the other side of the crime scene. Mr. Horton's mother, Michelle, was among them.

At the same time, coroner's investigators began moving Horton's body from the home through the middle of the taped-off area.

Ignoring police orders to move away from the scene, Mr. Sims persisted. When several officers tried to physically force him away, Mr. Sims and several bystanders, including another relative, Camille Daniels Williams, 44, fought with them.

As the scuffle continued, police used a Taser, a device that sends an electric jolt and is meant to temporarily override the nervous system, on Mr. Sims. It took several more moments to subdue Mr. Sims, who is listed at the Lucas County jail as weighing 375 pounds.

Handcuffed, he sat on the curb and wept as Mr. Horton's body was loaded into a waiting Lucas County coroner's vehicle.

Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre said the relatives were asked to stay back, but were insistent and broke through the barricade tape.

"The problem was we had a crime scene we were trying to protect," the chief said. "The crime scene is very important. Oftentimes it tells the story."

Chief Navarre said it's unfortunate that family members had to be arrested after the tragedy of losing a loved one.

"That's the last thing we want to do, is arrest family members," he said.

Chief Navarre said there is an investigation anytime a Taser is used and that there will be one in this incident.

Both Mr. Sims and Ms. Daniels Williams were charged with misconduct at an emergency and other misdemeanors, booked in the Lucas County jail, and released.

A neighbor, Keith Stall, 22, was arrested for misconduct at an emergency, and officers at the jail found suspected marijuana in his pocket.

He was also charged with drug abuse and was held last night at the jail.

Also arrested on unrelated misdemeanor warrants was Jerry Holbert, 22, who was Mr. Horton's cousin.

Blade staff writer Meghan Gilbert contributed to this report.

Contact Robin Erb at:

robinerb@theblade.com

or 419-724-6133.



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