During a routine traffic stop in Akron Ohio on May 16, 2013, a 64-year old man was shot a killed by the University of Akron police officer that stopped his vehicle. The driver was reported carrying a loaded firearm and pointed it at the police officer. This incident took place at approximately 11:30 in the morning. The victim was identified as James Genda, a resident of the city.
According to a spokesperson for the police department, the university police officer radioed for help. City police responded to the call but the driver was dead when they arrived. The spokesperson would not comment on what caused the shooting and went on to say that the case is currently under investigation.
However, in a news release a spokesperson for the University of Akron stated that the driver was pulled over due to an issue with the vehicle registration. When the officer approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, he was faced with a handgun. This prompted him to draw his weapon and fire.
Michelle Harbaugh, the 44-year old daughter of the deceased, told reporters that her father always kept a pellet gun in the vehicle as a form of protection. Mr. Genga worked on cars in his backyard and had the gun for this reason. She did not state whether or not he had been bothered in the past at any time when he was working on vehicles. She said this was the gun he was passing to the police officer to show that he meant no harm. It was likely that he did not know the reason that he was being pulled over.
Both the Akron City Police and the University of Akron police are investigating the shooting and the crime scene. The shooting took place off campus and this is why both police forces are involved in the investigation. The police officer has been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. A full report will be made public at that time from both the University and the City Police.