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Published: Friday, 7/25/2008

Sister en route as Toledo police shot man

Allen Cole, 40, of Bedford Township was in the National Guard for 23 years. Police fatally shot him on Wednesday. Allen Cole, 40, of Bedford Township was in the National Guard for 23 years. Police fatally shot him on Wednesday.

When her brother walked along North Detroit Avenue on Wednesday with a gun in his hand, he didn't want to hurt anyone, Michelle Frank said.

"It was another cry for help," she said last night.

But Allen Cole, 40, of 6255 Telegraph Rd., Lot 246, Bedford Township, was fatally shot by police about 1:10 p.m. near North Detroit and East Crawford Avenue when he pulled a second gun from his waistband.

Toledo police approached Mr. Cole after his wife, Gail, called 911 and told them he had a gun and threatened to harm her and himself. He did not fire either of his weapons.

Before the shooting, Mrs. Frank got a phone call from her brother's wife urging her to get to the scene. She immediately left her home in Holland and headed to Oregon to pick up her father.

A few minutes later, the phone rang again.

Her brother had been shot by police.

"It was screaming and chaos in the background," she said last night, surrounded by relatives. "I felt sick to my stomach."

Mrs. Frank said she only wishes police would have talked with her brother, known to the family as Dale, long enough for her father to arrive.

"He always listens to my dad," she said. "He may not like it, but he would listen."

Sgt. Keith Miller, who was first on the scene, and Officers Susan Surgo and Edward Gust tried for more than five minutes to get Mr. Cole to put down his gun. He pointed his weapon at his chest at one point, police said.

After Mr. Cole raised a second gun from his waistband and pointed it toward police, the officers fired a total of nine shots. The officers have been placed temporarily on administrative leave.

An autopsy performed yesterday showed Mr. Cole was struck six times. He was shot in the chest, abdomen, left arm, hand, and leg. The bullets that struck his torso were fatal, Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, said.

Dr. Patrick said the direction and range of the gunfire was consistent with the scenario provided by Toledo police.

He said the results of Mr. Cole's toxicology tests are pending. His death was ruled a homicide.

Chief Mike Navarre said a preliminary investigation Wednesday revealed the shooting was justified and the officers fired in self-defense.

Mrs. Frank said her brother joined the U.S. Army after he graduated from high school. He also served as a staff sergeant in the National Guard for 23 years as a diesel mechanic.

Tracy Clark, who is Mr. Cole's uncle, said his nephew injured his back several years ago. The medication he was taking for the injury affected his mental state. His sister said the condition had worsened in the last few months.

Mrs. Frank said his wife tried aggressively for months to get help for Mr. Cole. But because he was an adult, he had to agree to be admitted for treatment. He repeatedly insisted he was fine, his relatives said.

His aunt, Pam Scherman, said Mr. Cole may have resisted help because of his military background and a fear of being perceived as weak.

But regardless of what happened Wednesday, his family said they want to remember him by how he lived his life.

Mrs. Frank said he volunteered for military parades and tended to soldiers' graves that had been neglected. He worked in elderly people's yards and held a fund-raiser for a neighbor who lost an arm in an accident.

"He was more than willing to help somebody," Mr. Clark said.

Mr. Cole had pictures of his two children, Allen, Jr., and Crystal, tattooed on his chest.

"He was a great father," his grandmother Dorothy Clark said. "He did everything with his kids."

Contact Laren Weber at:


or 419-724-6050.

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