PAULDING — Authorities in Paulding County who are heading up an investigation into the Sept. 3 shooting death of a Spencerville man at the hands of Allen County SWAT team members on Monday said the probe could be wrapping up soon.
Terry Pierce, 46, was shot and killed by SWAT team members in western Van Wert County after leading police on a two-hour, multi-county chase that started near Spencerville at around 8 a.m. on Sept. 3 after he was found driving a semi tractor stolen from a Van Wert company.
Pierce spent more than an hour on the phone with dispatchers, deputies and officers during the chase, threatening to ram authorities and even a school bus with the stolen semi truck cab if they didn’t back away from the pursuit. At one point he indicated that he would force officers to shoot him.
“Point blank, I do not care anymore. I’m not just having a bad day, ma’am,” Pierce told a police dispatcher before he was killed.
The Spencerville man died as the result of two gunshot wounds to the chest, according to a preliminary autopsy report from the Lucas County Coroner’s Office. The report revealed Pierce was shot by officers twice in the back and once in the left ankle. Small-caliber ammunition rounds were recovered, one from each side of Pierce’s chest, after piercing his lungs, the report says. One bullet passed through the man’s pulmonary artery.
The coroner’s report also noted multiple shrapnel injuries to Pierce’s face, back and right arm, with “fragments visible on x-ray.” Three fragments were recovered in a body bag used to transport Pierce’s body.
Toxicology reports will determine the blood alcohol content in Pierce’s body at the time of death, according to the report. Van Wert County Coroner Dr. Scott Jarvis on Monday said that report has not yet been received by his office.
Four members of the Allen County SWAT team were placed on paid administrative leave following Pierce’s death. Their names have not yet been made public, pending the completion of the investigation into the shooting.
That investigation is being headed up by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office. A Van Wert County grand jury will consider what, if any, charges will be filed against the officers involved after officials in Paulding County submit their report to Paulding County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Burkhard, who has been appointed as the special prosecutor in Van Wert Common Pleas Court to oversee the case.
Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers on Monday said he expects the investigation to be wrapped up in the near future.
“In my last conversation with my investigator he was still putting everything together and was just starting to get a report compiled. My assumption is that I should be hearing that the investigation is wrapped up soon,” the sheriff said.
Burkard also believes the probe is nearing its conclusion.
“I have not received the full investigation at this point so I’m really unable to talk about the case,” the prosecutor said. “You might want to touch base with me in about a week and if I have some information I am able to share I will do that. I think they are in the process of wrapping up the investigation and are typing it right now.”