July 25, 2016

Mostly clear

Westlake man shoots, kills self in woods

GRANGER TWP. — Police said a Westlake man shot and killed himself Friday morning in a wooded area of the township after a search and roadside “struggle” with an officer.

Officers conducting a search in the area of Interstate 271 and Ridge Road heard a single gunshot and found 27-year-old Andrew Baumgartner dead on the ground at about 12:20 a.m. Friday, said Lt. Matthew Linscott of the Medina County Sheriff’s Office.

“It was a single, self-inflicted gunshot to the head using a .22-caliber pistol,” Linscott said.

Baumgartner was walking south on

I-271 near the Ridge Road entry ramp at 11:14 p.m. Thursday when sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Schmoll stopped his cruiser to inquire whether the man needed assistance or a ride to a warm location.

During a search of Baumgartner prior to being allowed to enter the cruiser, the sergeant felt a gun on the man’s side. A “struggle” ensued and Baumgartner ran into a wooded area just off the highway, Linscott said.

At 11:38 p.m., Baumgartner knocked on a door of a home just north of I-271 in the 2800 block of Ridge Road to ask for medical assistance, the lieutenant said.

“A couple answering the door declined to help him and immediately called 911,” Linscott said. “He then left the property … and went back to a treed area.”

About a dozen officers from Brunswick, Medina, Montville Township and the Ohio Highway Patrol responded to the property to help search for Baumgartner, Linscott said.

The lieutenant said Baumgartner was wanted for questioning by police in Solon and Broadview Heights regarding recent thefts in those areas.

A backpack Baumgartner had at the time of his encounter with Schmoll contained “several loaded handguns, jewelry and watches,” Linscott said.

There was no estimate available on the value of the items, he said.

A vehicle owned by Baumgartner was found at a rest stop on I-271 in Summit County near the Medina County line. Police are not sure why Baumgartner left his car and proceeded on foot with his backpack.

“We estimate he walked about four miles in the cold before being stopped,” Linscott said. “We’re just grateful he didn’t pull a weapon when approached by the sergeant.”

Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.