Gun control's complete and utter failure on display in Ohio town

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

September 8, 2004

Gunman dead after injuring three

GENEVA, Ohio - A woman grazed by a bullet dived into a parked car after hearing what she initially thought was firecrackers, while the gunman who opened fire on the town's main thoroughfair wounded two others before reportedly shooting himself.

"I felt something hit my leg, and dove into the car and hid there until police came," said Gwen Tingley, who was inspecting a customer's car at Geneva Quick Lube on Tuesday when the shooting started about 300 yards away.

Michael J. Harwood, 32, of nearby Madison, fired about 50 shots from a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle fitted with a telescopic sight, Police Chief Dan Dudik said.

Witnesses told officers that Harwood turned the gun on himself afterwards, according to a police news release.

A man who police suspect was the gunman's intended target was struck when bullets pierced his car. He was taken to a hospital and was listed in guarded condition Tuesday.

A second motorist was wounded and was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday. Names of the two weren't released.

The shooting started Tuesday morning as residents headed to work. Several children were on their way to class at Geneva Elementary School, about 500 feet away, when the shooting started, but none were hurt.

Scott Burr, who has six children ranging in age from 4 to 10, was getting ready to walk them to school when the shots were fired.

"I sent all my kids back in the house," Burr said. "I heard what sounded like a machine gun going off. There was a guy at the end of the road with a gun. I saw him shooting a car up and shooting at the guy as he was running down the road covered in blood. When he lost sight of him, he stopped in a parking lot and blew his own head off."

Harwood died of a gunshot wound to the head, Ashtabula County Deputy Coroner Richard Mongel said. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.

Madison Township Assistant Police Chief Len DelCalzo said police were at Harwood's apartment about noon on Monday for a domestic dispute. Harwood's longtime girlfriend, Aron Sutton, 31, assured officers she was OK and told police their loud argument was over her relationship with another man. DelCalzo said Harwood and the other man were friends.

On Tuesday, DelCalzo said, police checked again on Sutton after Geneva reported the shooting. Officers searched Harwood's apartment and seized 5,000 rounds of ammunition, several hand grenades and six guns, including an illegal machine gun.

Burr said he had been thinking about the terrorism tragedy at a Russian school last week.

“It got stirring in my brain, ‘What’s going on here?’ I was relieved when I found out it was probably some sort of domestic dispute and not something effecting the whole country.”

Gun control laws told this man not to go within 1000 feet of a school with a gun - he started shooting within 500 feet. Gun control laws told this man not to discharge his firearm within the city limits - he discharged about 50 rounds. Details are still emerging, but gun control laws may have prohibited this man from possessing his firearm, or may have rendered the firearm illegal. That's not to mention the numerous other criminal laws that were broken.

Mr. Burr's comparison to the shootings in Russia is right on, but he is wrong when he says this isn't something affecting the whole country. This is an excellent example of how many citizens in this country, despite the liberalization of concealed carry laws, will be unable to defend themselves if it happens to them.

WHAT IF this man hadn't stopped shooting after 50 rounds? WHAT IF this man had decided to choose his targets indiscriminantly? WHAT IF this man had entered the school? Unfortunately, history provides the answers.

On the other hand, WHAT IF there had been an Ohio CHL-holder nearby? There are many examples to provide us that answer as well.

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The ultimate case against disarmed victim zones

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