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  53-Year-Old Man Who Lived At Traveler’s Inn Sentenced In 2019 Incident Where He Fired 2 Shots At Police  
  October 22, 2020 Edition  
      associate editor
      A 53-year-old former resident of the Traveler’s Suites, 6110 Market St., Stephen B. Wilson, known to have mental issues, received a sentence of up to 23-1/2 years in jail last week from Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge John Durkin, more than a year after Wilson fired two gunshots at police who had attempted to help him in the early morning hours of Sept. 7, 2019 as he was walking in the roadway on heavily-traveled Market St.
      Shortly after midnight on Sept. 7, Ptl. Earl Neff was on a routine patrol when he saw Wilson walking in the middle of Market St., near Gertrude Ave.
      Officer Neff pulled-up to the man and advised him to use the sidewalk, however Wilson continued walking in the roadway and fired a round from a handgun that struck the patrolman’s cruiser.
      Officer Neff immediately got out of his cruiser and ordered Wilson to drop the gun and get to the ground. Wilson ignored police and continued walking on the roadway, eventually being followed by a contingent of at least 10 law enforcement officers, including Boardman police and Ohio State Highway patrol troopers.
      When Wilson reached the intersection of Market St. and Erskine Ave. he fired a second round at police, unleashing a hell-fire response from law enforcement, who returned fire, putting Wilson to the ground as he was struck numerous times.
      Officers kicked his gun away as Ptl. Breanna Jones began to render first aid to Wilson. Wilson was taken to the hospital and survived to stand trial.
      In remarks at Wilson’s sentencing hearing last week, Boardman Police Chief Todd Weth noted “The law enforcement profession has been the focus of much recent debate in our country. The public rightfully expects a lot from the men and women who serve in this capacity in our communities, and we embrace that.
      “An important request in return is that those who would do us harm answer, without excuse, to their conduct. In this case, Mr. Wilson attempted to kill nine police officers and troopers who were working to keep the community, and him, safe that evening.”
      “Mr. Wilson was walking in the roadway and not utilizing the available sidewalks. [Officer Neff] was concerned about Mr. Wilson’s safety, pulled his marked police cruiser up near him and asked him to step over to the side of the road and use the available sidewalk.
      “For background, prior to this encounter there were three recent tragic fatalities in the township where pedestrians were struck by vehicles on heavily-traveled state roads, to include an earlier incident on Market Street. I believe it is important to highlight this because the initial contact by law enforcement with Mr. Wilson was initiated specifically out of a concern for his personal safety,” Chief Werth said.
      “Mr. Wilson’s conduct that evening started with an unprovoked attack on an officer who was concerned about his safety on the roadway. Then, after an extended period of time and distance, Mr. Wilson made the knowing and conscious decision again to attempt to kill a law enforcement officer.
      “The fact that no officer was severely injured or killed that evening is truly a miracle. However, that does not completely overshadow the extreme stress the incident caused those officers, troopers, and their families. Some may say that they willingly or knowingly place themselves in harm’s way through this line of work. However, it does not take away from the fact that ethat evening, with this incident likely weighing on each of them for the rest of their lives,” the chief told the court.
      He also noted “Mr. Wilson was quickly secured and was immediately provided medical care by the officers and troopers he had just tried to kill. This immediate care quite possibly saved Mr. Wilson’s life.
      “Of note is that even though Mr. Wilson remained a direct threat to the officers, troopers, and the public, they showed great restraint and professionalism and only resorted to the use of deadly force as an absolute last resort. They did this even as they were exposed and remained in harm’s way. Without hesitation, they then worked to save his life after he no longer posed a threat.”
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