You could call them three teenage thugs, but that would probably be too nice.
Two of them — Duran Tyson Jr. and Zyshon Stiggers, both 17 — are currently being held in the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center.
The third, 18-year-old Tapanga Ray, is being housed at the Allen County jail.
One of them — the Allen County Sheriff’s Office believes it to be Tyson — tried to gun down Deputy Barry Friemoth earlier this month. Another one of them — maybe it was the same person — just a few hours earlier pointed a gun at a Bluelick Road gas station clerk, who fell to the floor with his hands up, while a customer looked on in disbelief.
What were the teens after?
Why would one of them try to kill a cop?
It turns out it was simply for cigarettes and an undetermined amount of cash.
That’s all they took. All they wanted.
Even more unbelievable is the lack of outrage in the community. The silence 10 days later. It’s as if the incident never occurred.
This past year we’ve had people going bonkers because they believe police officers have unfairly targeted them. Maybe these folks have a legitimate point. Maybe not. But there’s no question we’re facing a colossal problem when a teenager in our community is willing to kill a police officer over a pack of smokes, and other than Sheriff Matt Treglia speaking out during a press conference, there has been closed lips from ministers and elected officials throughout the four corners of Lima. It’s as if they’re shrugging their shoulders and saying this isn’t my problem … say nothing and it will all just go away.
The problem is it won’t “just go away.”
What kind of message is being sent to our youth? Are we allowing them to believe the actions of the three teens is somehow defensible? Even more, it makes you wonder who would ever want to be a police officer.
Barry Friemoth could be thinking that way today. Two years ago he was involved in an exchange of gunfire during a SWAT team drug raid in which a man was killed. And now this.
But Friemoth is the hero in this story.
Following the armed robbery, deputies caught up with the suspects a few hours later. Friemoth ordered Tyson to stop, at which time Tyson turned toward the deputy and fired multiple rounds. At least two bullets struck an unmarked cruiser, and at least one round struck a residence, Treglia said. Friemoth did not return fire, given he was in a neighborhood and didn’t want to risk a stray shot hitting an innocent resident, but he did chase Tyson into his Reese Avenue home.
At approximately 4:44 a.m. that Friday — nearly seven hours after the armed robbery — Tyson exited the home, which by now had been surrounded by a SWAT team. He was escorted by his mother and was taken into custody without further incident.
This cannot be looked at as just another day in Lima.
Teens. Guns. Shooting at law officers?
A strong message needs to be sent that this city won’t tolerate such violence. The maximum penalties allowed by law should be sought. No plea bargains. No deals.
The public and our law enforcement officers deserve no less. Now is not the time for silence.
ROSES AND THORNS: A hero from long ago now walks in the rose garden.
Rose: To French Smith, 98, of Lima. He was part of the U.S. Army’s 39th Infantry Regiment that landed in the second wave at Normandy during the D-Day invasion 75 years ago.
Rose: To Jeff Fitzgerald, Ann Miles and Brenda Burgy, who were the campaign chairs during the United Way’s 100th anniversary. More than $1.6 million was raised by the United Way of Greater Lima.
Rose: Ohio State University President Michael Drake made a surprise visit Thursday to a luncheon in Ottawa of current and incoming OSU students.
Rose: To Electra and Frank Chilton, of Lima, and Betty and Jack Nartker of Elida. Mr. and Mrs. Chilton celebrated 70 years of marriage on May 31 while Mr. and Mrs. Nartker are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary today.
Rose: More than 100 people stopped for the opening of the Farmers Market in downtown Lima. The market offers fresh locally grown produce and fresh baked goods from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in the town square.
Thorn: When asked during a City Focus meeting about the plans of Greater Lima Region Inc., Lima Mayor David Berger said he has no idea, explaining the group is privately funded and his efforts to meet with them has been unsuccessful. What wasn’t said, however, was the mayor received an invitation in late May to attend the GLR meeting in July so they could share ideas and information about projects.
PARTING SHOT: “Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.” — U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.