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Published: Thursday, 4/27/2006

Officer critically wounded, man dies in Cleveland airport shooting


CLEVELAND A man arguing with workers at an airport ticket counter grabbed a police officer s gun and shot a patrolman before he was killed by another officer today, authorities said.

The patrolman was shot twice in the chest and was in critical condition, city Safety Director Martin Flask said.

The shootings at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport followed a disturbance earlier this morning involving the same man in an airport parking garage, Flask said.

The man, whose identity was not released, then tried unsuccessfully to buy a ticket at the Delta Air Lines counter. After arguing with a Delta employee, he went to the adjacent United Airlines ticket counter and purchased a ticket to Chicago, then got into the confrontation with the officers, Flask said.

It appears the suspect who was shot by police does have an extensive criminal history, including three stints in prison for burglary and drugs, Flask said.

The shooting, shortly after 10 a.m., was in an area before security check points. The airport remained open, said airport director Fred Szabo.

Employees at the United Airlines ticket counter were being interviewed by investigators after the shooting, United spokesman Robin Urbanski said.

The patrolman, Steve Walker, was in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Susan Christopher said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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