LIMA ‚?? Police continued Friday to look into the background of a man who earlier this week stabbed an officer in the head.
That man, 41-year-old John Heffner, remained in St. Rita‚??s Medical Center guarded by a Lima Police officer. Heffner is recovering from two gunshot wounds sustained when the injured officer shot him in self defense outside the police department Wednesday.
Heffner‚??s wife told a sheriff‚??s dispatcher just before the attack he was suicidal and wanted to force police into a situation to kill him, a phenomenon known as ‚??suicide by cop.‚?Ě
Heffner stood outside the police station Wednesday with a screwdriver in one hand and a pole in the other. When Sgt. Dave Gillispie walked out the front door to see what he wanted, Heffner charged him and struck him in the head with the screwdriver.
Heffner‚??s wife, Pam, told the dispatcher her request for a divorce may have put him over the edge.
Lima Police Lt. Jim Baker said Thursday at a news conference investigators had information suggesting Heffner may have attempted suicide in the past.
Baker declined to discuss those attempts Friday, saying detectives are looking into it. He said there‚??s a lot to be learned about Heffner and the investigation is in the early stages.
‚??We have a great deal of background work to do checking into his mental issues,‚?Ě Baker said. ‚??There‚??s obviously some type of mental issue. We want to get all the information we can that might have led up to that.‚?Ě
Baker said there usually is a history leading up to erratic behavior: Strange events usually are preceded by other acts of unusual behavior. But that is not a steadfast rule.
Court records in Allen County and surrounding counties show nothing to indicate Heffner was having troubles. His most recent involvement with the court system was in 2000 when he was issued a ticket for a turn or stop signal violation, according to Lima Municipal Court records.
His wife could not be reached for comment Friday.
Heffner lived at 3827 Meadowview Drive in Shawnee Township, which is owned by Janet Leonard, a relative of his wife, according to records.
Heffner and his wife had a son in 2002. A 2003 obituary for his wife‚??s grandmother showed they have a daughter, too.
Baker did not have details on whether Heffner was employed and said that would be checked as part of the investigation. A 2002 story in The Lima News interviewed a man with the same name living on Dana Avenue on the opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter. That man said he worked at Procter & Gamble.
A 1992 traffic ticket also listed Heffner at the Meadowview Drive address, but the ticket from 2000 listed an address on South Dana Drive. Pam Heffner told a dispatcher he may have be going to that address when she was trying to locate him Wednesday.
The Dana Drive home also is owned by Leonard, who court records indicate uses the Meadowview Drive home as her mailing address.
Allen County Sheriff records had a 2007 case in which Heffner was a witness to an assault. Shawnee Township police and fire records show an emergency medical service call to the Meadowview Drive address for Heffner, but Fire Chief Todd Truesdale said he could not release any information on the call because it was for a medical reason. A date for the call was not available.
Baker said detectives will attempt to interview Heffner as soon as possible, which may be after he is released from the hospital. Baker did not know how long Heffner would be in the hospital.
Once Heffner is well enough to leave the hospital, he likely will go straight to Allen County Jail. He is charged with felonious assault with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony.
Shooting at Lima Police Department