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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2008

Lima officer absolutely, positively certain victim had fired first


LIMA, Ohio When Sgt. Joseph Chavalia pulled the trigger and fatally shot Tarika Wilson, he was "absolutely, positively" certain the person he was firing at had shot at him first.

"There is absolutely, positively no doubt in my mind that this person is shooting and they re trying to kill me," Sergeant Chavalia said from the witness stand Thursday while describing what happened during the Jan. 4 drug raid.

The 31-year police veteran said that as he was climbing the stairs at Wilson s Third Street house, he had spotted what he took to be an adult human form on the second floor of the house the Lima Police SWAT team was securing and soon saw it disappear. When the human form appeared a second time, he heard gunshots and flinched. The person again disappeared.

Sergeant Chavalia said that when the person appeared again, he heard another gunshot and fired.

"There is just absolutely no doubt in my mind I m taking fire from this person," he said.

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