Man in 30-hour police standoff released from prison in July

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2018 @ 12:13 PM

Standoff involving 10-year-old hostage in Butler Co. continues

A heated late Friday night incident that boiled over into a nearly 30-hour standoff with SWAT ended early Sunday with the arrest of a man who held a 10-year-old boy hostage at an apartment complex in Liberty Twp..

That suspect, Donald Tobias Gazaway, 31, surrendered at 6:36 a.m. Sunday morning in the 7000 block of East Hamilton Place in Liberty Twp., according to Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones. Gazaway is booked into the Butler County Jail on charges of kidnapping, felonious assault and inducing panic.

The 10-year-old hostage was safe following the standoff, which Jones said would not have ended as well without the assistance of West Chester and Hamilton police departments and the Liberty Twp. Fire Department.

Donald Tobias Gazaway(Staff Writer)

“We’re very fortunate that when these departments were there, that the guy came out and he gave up,” Jones said. “We didn’t think at times we were going to get a good resolve from this. We felt that he wanted us to shoot him at different times, but we could not do anything, we couldn’t breach, we couldn’t come in because … any movement that he made was always with that child.”

“We could hear the child inside, he was crying, he was wanting to get out.”


The incident started at 11:27 p.m. Friday when the boy’s mother called police saying a man was in her apartment at the Springs at Liberty Twp. with a gun and demanding money, Jones said.

Neighbors told this media outlet that the boy’s mother ran from townhouse to townhouse, banging on doors and seeking safety. The woman was crying, barefooted and with pajamas only, one neighbor described. The woman’s blood was still visible on at least two of those doors on Sunday.

Police made cellphone contact with Gazaway at 11:38 p.m. and shots were reported fired inside the apartment at 11:51 p.m., leading police to evacuate surrounding apartments in the complex.

A view of the standoff at Springs at Liberty Township apartments as of 1:50 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. WAYNE BAKER / STAFF

Shots were again fired from inside the apartment between 4 and 6 a.m. Saturday with Gazaway using the boy as a shield, according to police. Officers breached the front door around 6 a.m. to communicate with Gazaway and shots were fired at a police robot around 7:47 a.m.

At 9 a.m., police made visual confirmation that Gazaway was using the child as a shield with a gun to his neck and at 11 a.m. he took the boy to the apartment’s garage and got in a car, where he fired shots at 12:52 p.m., Jones said.

Negotiations continued from 1 p.m. Saturday through the night until Gazaway surrendered without incident.

MORE: 37 people indicted in Butler and Warren counties

Jones said the boy’s mother knew Gazaway “a couple of weeks” and was a friend of the family.

He said he could not yet disclose the type of firearm that was fired at police or the extent of damage it caused to police equipment. Jones said more than two dozens shots were fired by the suspect in the incident. Police did not fire a shot, Jones added.

This isn’t Gazaway’s first run-in with the law. State records show he served more than four years in prison for felonious assault and a gun specification out of Hamilton County, and was released from prison in July and remained under the supervision of Ohio’s Adult Parole Authority, according to our news partner, WCPO-TV.

The suspect using a child as a human shield “definitely changes the dynamics of the standoff,” said Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit.

“Having a hostage, especially a hostage of this age and a child, I can tell you that I know that probably without exception every officer, every operator that was out there is a parent and a lot of those operators have their own children at home about this age,” Bucheit said. “Everybody knew just what was at stake, how important this was, and I think this really helped keep these folks going through some very difficult, long hours, very difficult conditions.”

Bucheit credits negotiators for doing “an outstanding job” of talking to Gazaway, keeping him calm and building a rapport with him, even as he fluctuated between wanting to let the boy go and standing his ground against police.

“Over enough time, I think that finally wore him down and he was out of options,” Bucheit said. “He was in the car, the car was running, it was getting low on gas … (temperatures) are in the single digits … and eventually he just wore down and gave up.”

West Chester Police Chief Joel Herzog said the standoff was one of the most difficult and challenging that he had been involved with and even been aware of in his 27 years in law enforcement.

He said it was “very valuable” that the various departments all were on the same radio system because it allowed for “seamless” communication between the three law enforcement agencies.

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The boy was sent to a hospital for observation. His mother told WCPO she was “happy that this turned out right.”

“He’s a brave little boy,” she said. “All he wanted to do at the end of the day was protect mommy. I think he was more concerned about me being safe versus him being stuck with the bad guy.”

The suspect was like family, the mother of the boy told WCPO, but he acted strangely and aggressively before the standoff.

“Mommy won’t be dating for a while or bringing any guys around my son,” she said.

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Did you hear gunfire last night from a roaming pickup truck? Police are asking for help

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:30 AM


Ross Township police are asking for information about shots fired Tuesday night.

At about 9 p.m., police received several calls from residents reporting gunfire in Ross and Hanover Townships, according to the department’s Facebook post.

MORE: Prosecutor: Middletown bar death could be classic case of ‘one-punch homicide’

Witnesses reported the gunshots were originating from a large, loud, black pickup truck roaming the area. Officers investigating the shots fired recovered several shell casings. No property damage has been reported and the truck was not located.

If anyone has any information concerning the truck or occupants, please contact the Ross Township Police Department at 513-863-2337.

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Sentencing for man who killed mother with child in car delayed

Published: Friday, January 26, 2018 @ 3:54 PM
Updated: Monday, January 29, 2018 @ 3:30 AM

Brandon Carr
Brandon Carr

UPDATE @ 9:05 a.m. (Feb. 21):

Sentencing for Brandon Carr has been delayed until Mar. 8 at 9 a.m.

UPDATE @ 4:35 p.m. (Feb. 6):

Brandon Carr, 36, was found guilty Tuesday in the shooting death of Brittany Russell, prosecutor’s said.

Prosecutor’s said Carr was found guilty as charged.  His sentencing is set for Feb. 21 at 9:45 a.m.


The man accused of shooting a Middletown mother to death in a car, where her 6-month-old daughter was discovered unharmed, is set for trial today.

Brandon Carr, 36, of Hamilton is charged with aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, endangering children and having weapons under disability in connection to the killing of Brittany Russell, 29, of Middletown.

RELATED: Suspect indicted in fatal shooting of mother in front of child

Russell’s body was found inside a vehicle in an apartment parking lot off Free Pike in Dayton in early February 2016.

Russell’s 6-month-old daughter was in the backseat of the vehicle, but was not harmed, authorities said.

The U.S. Marshal’s Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team arrested Carr on March 14, 2017, at an address on Cornell Drive in Dayton.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Two men shot to death on North Dixie Drive were friends

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 5:12 PM

LISTEN: 911 call released in double homicide in Harrison Twp.

The names of the two men found shot to death Monday in a Harrison Twp. car dealership have been released, but their autopsies are still pending.

LISTEN: The 911 call about the North Dixie shooting

The men, reportedly friends, were officially identified Tuesday as Buck-I Auto Sales owner Frank D. Buck, 71, and Lester Golson, 59, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Deputies said they do not believe anyone else was involved in the shooting deaths, but declined to provide many additional details.

Buck’s daughter, who said Tuesday that funeral services are pending, expressed love for her father and compassion for the Golson family.

“My father was a loving man would do anything in the world for just about anybody, he was loved by a lot he was always smiling, laughing, and joking around,” said Candace Buck. “My condolences are with the Golson family during this very hard time.”

FIRST REPORT: 2 men found shot to death inside auto dealership

Candace Buck said Golson was a family friend who had purchased vehicles at the business before.

A woman who tried to get into the business Monday and saw one man point a gun at another then called 911 to report that she saw people get into a “tussle” before she heard three gunshots.

BREAKING NEWS: Police investigating after bones found behind Dayton home

In the sometimes frantic 6-minute call at 1:22 p.m., the woman said, “I was trying to get to my car and get to the phone to call the police then I heard gunshots.”

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office incident report listed the call as a homicide with an investigation pending. Other than that, it gave few clues as to detective’s theories.

The report’s narrative read: “On Monday, February 1, 2018, Deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to 2801 North Dixie Drive in Harrison Township in reference to a shooting.”

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Deputies had not commented on the relationship between Buck and Golson. Neither had felony records in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Kyle Phillips of Huber Heights watched Monday as police worked the scene. He said he shopped for a car at the dealership several years ago.

Phillips said word of two deaths was “crazy” but that gunfire in the Northridge area — where he used to live — was not surprising to him.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

The sheriff’s office said people in the North Dixie area shouldn’t worry about suspects.

“I don’t believe that there’s anybody that we need to worry about right now,” Capt. Jeremy Roy said. “We think it was contained right here.”

Police have not released how many weapons were found at the scene or if the bullets found in the deceased’s bodies match the weapon or weapons found.

Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Rob Streck said Tuesday there was no new information available and that detectives are chasing down leads.

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Judge orders big jump in bond for Trenton man charged with child sex, pornography

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

            Mickey R. Murrill, 30, of the first block of North Street, is charged with 25 felony crimes including rape, voyeurism and possesion of child pornography. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Mickey R. Murrill, 30, of the first block of North Street, is charged with 25 felony crimes including rape, voyeurism and possesion of child pornography. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Bond was increased Tuesday for a Trenton man facing 25 felony charges including rape, voyeurism and possession of child pornography.

Mickey R. Murrill, 30, of the first block of North Street, was taken into custody last week. He faces one count of kidnapping for sexual motivation, four counts of illegal use of a minor in a nudity oriented material or performance, one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, four counts of voyeurism, rape, two counts of gross sexual imposition and 12 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

More: Police say Trenton man facing child porn charges showed pictures to girls

On Friday at Murrill’s arraignment in Butler County Common Pleas Court, bond that was set earlier in Middletown Municipal Court of $120,000 was continued by common pleas Judge Charles Pater.

Murrill was back before Pater on Tuesday, when is bond was increased to $500,000. He has pleaded not guilty and has been appointed an attorney.

According to the indictment, the crimes occurred between Oct. 18, 2014 and October 18, 2017. The six alleged victims are between the ages of 6 and 12, according to the Trenton police report. Two other possible victims are listed on the original report, but Detective Sean Gill said there was not enough proof for charges to be filed.

Murrill’s mother, aunt and grandmother, who declined give their names, said he has suffered from head injuries and has tried suicide in the past.

Murrill is accused of showing pictures of females with no pants on to a 6-year-old girl and then asking the child to pull down her pants, according to the police report.

The child was transported to a hospital, where the girl disclosed Murrill had touched her private parts inside her underwear. The girl said the photos on Murrill’s phone were of girls, according to a report.

Detectives searched Murrill’s apartment two days later and seized a laptop, a tablet, a flash drive, two SD cards and a camera. The electronics were analyzed by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

During a Feb. 6 interview with detectives, Murrill told them that he had a spy camera in his residence that was made to look like a USB charger. Officers were unable to find the device when they searched the residence a second time.

While officers were searching Murrill’s residence on Feb. 6, detectives filed charges against him in Middletown Municipal Court. According to the police report, Murrill said he was suicidal during the interview and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The charges were presented directly to a Butler County grand jury, and the indictment was returned last week.

Murrill is accused of producing some of the images involving a child and also downloading some images, according to prosecutors.

Gill said Murrill is accused of having sexual contact with two of the victims, and the remainder of the victims where photographed without their knowledge with a camera in his apartment.

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