WARREN - Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa acknowledged that tensions are high across the city in the aftermath of Saturday's fatal shooting of city man who had a history with local law enforcement and ties to Detroit.
Still, police have a job to do and are out patrolling city streets as normally as possible, he said.
"There's some tension, and emotions are running high for some people, but that's to be expected," he said on Sunday.
"This is where, more than ever, their training takes over. They are trained to deal with situations like this. We're just making sure everyone is aware of what's going on, from the top of the department down to every patrolman,'' Cantalamessa said.
''Obviously someone is dead, and that's not an easy thing. The outcome may not have been what many people wanted. But threatening our police officers or making their jobs even more difficult than they are won't help anyone," he said.
Cantalamessa was referring to comments posted by readers on reports published by various local media outlets over the weekend.
Multiple sources close to the investigation confirmed that Taemarr Walker, 24, with address on Homewood Avenue S.E. and Kenwood Drive S.W., was shot to death by a Warren police officer just before 2 a.m. near the intersection of Risher and Palmyra roads S.W.
The officer various sources said was involved - Patrolman Michael Krafcik - is a 20-year-veteran of the Warren Police Department. He was also involved, but cleared, in another fatal shooting during his rookie year 20 years ago, in a case in which a man seconds earlier shot a baby. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Walker, who just turned 24 on Thursday, had a lengthy police record. His ties to both Warren and Detroit are among several connections between the two cities that local officials have investigated involving dozens of people and a slew of crimes from drug possession and robbery to felonious assault and murder.
He had been wounded by gunfire at least twice and was suspected in the shooting death of a man in 2009. He was released from Trumbull County Jail Oct. 11 after a grand jury failed to indict him on charges of felonious assault and aggravated robbery in two holdups a year ago.
He was accused of holding a man at gunpoint twice last year - once in Warren and once in Niles.
He was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on charges of tampering with evidence and failing to comply with the orders of a police officer.
In January, Walker's mother, Katherine L. Eggleston, 46, of Homewood Avenue S.E., told police that someone called her cell phone several times and threatened to shoot up her house days after Walker was extradicted from Detroit on the aggravated robbery charge.
Similarly, in September 2009, Eggleston told police that her home had been shot at two days in a row, according to Tribune Chronicle archives. This came after Walker was reported to have been involved in a January 2009 shootout that left him wounded in the stomach and another man, Ahmaze King, dead.
On Aug. 23, 2009, Walker was charged with felonious assault at a shooting near his mother's home. That day, police were called to Jackson Avenue S.W. after Sean King, Ahmaze King's brother, reported that as he was driving someone at that residence shot him in the arm.
Walker was a suspect in the shooting death of Ahmaze King, 26, at 3076 Lancer Court, Warren. King was shot in the head, and Walker was wounded in the abdomen.
Police arrested Walker three days later, and charged him with felonious assault in the double shooting, but later was indicted on carrying a concealed weapon, receiving stolen property and having weapons under court-ordered prohibition.
He was sentenced to serve one year in prison.
Niles police reported on May 5 of this year, Walker hijacked a car and led officers on a high-speed chase before jumping out of the car. He was found hiding under another car off Fulton Street in Niles.
In July, after Walker was freed on bond, he was arrested again on charges by deputy U.S. Marshals on Autumn Drive N.W. after they found him hiding inside a clothes dryer at the home of a female friend.
Sources close to the investigation said the officer was investigating a traffic accident on Risher Road, about a 100 yards from the intersection with Palmyra Road S.W., when he was confronted by Walker, who arrived at the scene in another car.
It's believed Walker was armed when he confronted the officer, according to police scanner traffic. Sources also say he was armed.
On police radio traffic, an officer is heard telling a dispatcher, ''Give me another unit out here. I've got a subject with a gun in a car,'' and then yelling at the person, ''Put your hands up!''
At a news conference Saturday afternoon, police Chief Eric Merkel confirmed that several shots were fired and more than one weapon was confiscated by BCI agents.
Councilman Eddie Colbert said that in light of the watchful eye the U.S. Department of Justice has on Warren in the wake of an investigation into the city police department's use of force, he believes Saturday's shooting will be investigated extensively and is asking residents to wait for the outcome of that process before making any assumptions about what happened.
"A loss of life is still a loss of life and you're never happy about that," he said. "Obviously after something like this we would ask for cooler heads to prevail, to allow the investigation to take place, to run its course. Threats, violence, that doesn't help anyone or solve anything. We don't need to live like that."