Local man shot, killed in theater shooting

Published: Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 10:21 AM
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012 @ 11:57 AM


            Samantha Yowler and Matt McQuinn
            submitted

In the chaos of one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history, one local woman’s boyfriend was killed at a Colorado movie theater.

The boyfriend shielded her. The woman suffered a bullet wound to the leg while her brother escaped physically unharmed.

Siblings Samantha and Nick Yowler — both former St. Paris residents — were watching The Dark Knight Rises at a theater in Aurora, Colo., with her boyfriend Matt McQuinn when James Eagen Holmes reportedly kicked in an exit door, released canisters of pepper spray and opened fire.

At least 59 people were injured and 12 were killed, including McQuinn, a Vandalia-Butler graduate whose Springfield family agonized for hours Friday without knowing if he had survived or where he was.

He and Nick Yowler tried to shield Samantha Yowler with their bodies, according to the Yowlers’ grandmother, Elsie Windle of St. Paris. Nick Yowler called his mother, Ann Massie, at 3:30 a.m. to tell his family about the shooting.

“It’s been a difficult morning,” stepfather Scott Massie, the St. Paris fire chief, said Friday morning, his voice shaking before his wife boarded a plane to fly to Colorado.

Scott Massie said he spoke to his stepchildren while they were at the scene.

“Just total chaos,” he said of the reports they gave and what he heard. “Disbelief. Shock.”

Samantha Yowler underwent surgery and was reported in fair condition Friday.

Matt McQuinn’s family tried all Friday to find any information about his condition.

Springfield resident Stacie McQuinn, Matt’s stepmother, said the hospital would not confirm to Samantha Yowler what happened to him because they are not related.

“It’s minute by minute,” said Stacie McQuinn as she waited on a telephone update from his mother, Jerri Jackson, who traveled to Aurora Friday to find out what happened.

By Friday evening, the families retained attorney Rob Scott to speak for them.

“Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Scott said. “The families ask for everyone to be patient and respect their wishes during this very difficult time.”

Samantha Yowler is a 2004 graduate of Graham High School, where she was in National Honor Society, earned a KTH Scholarship, was a blood donor and was involved in the high school’s Special Wish program. She attended Ohio State University until 2007.

She met Matt McQuinn, a member of Maiden Lane Church who graduated from Vandalia-Butler High School in 2004, at the Springfield Target store. Target officials declined to comment.

The two transferred to a Target in Denver, Colo., in November last year. Nick Yowler had already lived in Colorado for several years, said his grandmother, Windle.

“Samantha had moved out there last November” after her brother’s divorce, she added.

At Vandalia-Butler, Matt McQuinn was part of the Occupational World Experience program, where students attend classes for a minimum of three periods a day, then work the rest of the day at a job.

“I learned how to hold a job,” he said in his 2004 senior yearbook.

Before she left, Samantha Yowler was well known in the St. Paris neighborhood where she grew up.

“She was just very, very caring. She has a lot of friends,” said Talia Kauffman-Diaz, who grew up with Samantha and lived next door to the family as a child.

Diaz, who lives in St. Paris, was with Samantha Yowler from elementary school through high school graduation in 2004. Diaz said their families were very close, and a group of friends from the neighborhood all spent time together.

“She was there for me when my parents divorced, and I was there for her when she needed me,” said Diaz, who said she didn’t know Matt McQuinn well.

Diaz said there’s nothing organized yet, but she has been trying to get in touch with other childhood friends and with the Yowlers to determine what to do to help.

“It’s just, how shocking it is to come from this small town and have someone so loving and caring have something so tragic happen,” Diaz said.

Samantha Yowler and Matt McQuinn are popular in their new home in Colorado as well. Her Facebook page was full of wall posts wishing the best for the couple from people in Ohio and Colorado.

“They’re really fun people, we always go out together,” said Melissa Downen, a Colorado co-worker and friend to the couple. She said they’ve worked at Target for about six months. Downen added that everyone working there is consumed with worry over the couple.

“Everyone here is really close, and they really integrated well with the Target family,” she said.

People in the village of St. Paris reacted with shock to the news and reached for note cards to offer comfort to the family.

“You don’t feel a connection to this area, and then it really hits you,” Teresa Roberts said while having lunch with husband, Ken, at C.J.’s Pizzeria on Main Street.

“Another maniac out there,” said a customer in the Howard’s IGA in St. Paris, where store manager Mike Townsend said that before learning of the local connection “the one thing was worried was it was a terrorist.”

“This is awful and scary,” said Cheri Howard, who was treating two grandsons to ice cream at Howard’s Dairy Barn. “All these people did was go to a movie. It could have happened in Springfield. It could have happened in Urbana, I suppose. It makes you afraid to let your teenagers go to a movie,” she said.

Springfield, following a presidential proclamation released by the White House from President Barack Obama, will fly flags at half-staff until sunset on Wednesday to honor of the victims of the tragedy.

“It’s a very tragic event that’s taken place in Colorado, and we wanted to show our support as a community,” said Springfield city manager Jim Bodenmiller.

Wire reports and staff writers Michael Cooper, Marc Katz and Mark McGregor contributed to this story.

Longer days leading to greater sunburn threat

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 7:05 PM

You have likely noticed that days are getting longer as we head toward the summer solstice on June 21st. The sunset time across the Miami Valley this week is now at around 8:30 p.m. However, the sun sets earlier the farther east you go. This is thanks to our location in the eastern Time Zone. In Bangor, Maine, the sun sets nearly an hour earlier than it does in Dayton. So location does have it's advantages if you enjoy it being daylight later. Of course the sun rises earlier along the East Coast. 

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts  

With days getting longer, it is important to know that the risk of sunburn is also increasing thanks to the higher sun angle. The UV Index through Wednesday during midday is expected to be very high. That means sunburn can occur within just 15 to 25 minutes of sun exposure without proper sunscreen.

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14-year-old mowing grass finds body from apparent overdose

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 5:41 PM

Police in the Miami Valley respond to drug overdoses all too often these days, and the past 24 hours for Dayton police were no exception. 

Among the calls between Friday night and Saturday, Dayton officers investigated three incidents in which two men died and two men were revived with Narcan.

Police responded shortly after 10 p.m. Friday to the 1200 block of Lamar Street and found medics trying to revive 37-year-old Alim Ilkham who was unconscious, according to the police report. The man’s wife was there with a friend. She called 9-1-1 after finding her husband unconscious in the tractor-trailer that was idling nearby.

Medics administered three doses of Narcan and revived Ilkham, who was taken to Miami Valley Hospital for treatment.

Inside the cab of the tractor-trailer, officers found evidence of drug abuse as well as the body of 45-year-old Miguel Lopez, who is believed to be Ilkham’s co-driver. The pair was hauling produce for a trucking company based out of Pennsylvania, according to the report.

The next morning, police responded to a possible dead body at an apartment building in the 3100 block of Hassler Street.

The property manager’s 14-year-old granddaughter was helping to cut grass when she came upon a man who was slumped over behind some bushes at the rear of the building, according to the report.

Medics responded and pronounced the man dead. He was identified as 25-year-old Cody Robert Couch, according to the report.

“We have a young man it looks like in between our apartments and he’s non-functional; he looks dead,” said the male 9-1-1 caller. “He’s behind the bushes. I nudged him with my weed eater.”

Saturday evening, a suspected overdose led to a crash on U.S. 35 East at South Gettysburg Avenue, which left a street light knocked over in the median, a heavily damaged 2011 Chevy Cruise and an unconscious driver identified as 38-year-old Jason Lilly of New Vienna.

Police arrived before medics and a passerby stopped to help. There was a used hypodermic needle on the driver’s side floorboard, according to the report.

Police said the passerby possessed Narcan and administered two doses. Medics arrived and administered two more doses before Lilly was revived, according to the report.

Police said the driver later admitted to officers at the hospital that he had used heroin and drove to the city to buy it.

Lilly was issued a summons to appear in Dayton Municipal Court on potential charges of possessing drug abuse instruments and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 1:08 PM

In this April 12 photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Fiona a prematurely born hippopotamus, swims in her quarantine enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Cincinnati. (Courtesy Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens via AP)

Fiona — the world’s favorite prematurely born hippopotamus — turned three months old today.

The early days of cuddling the tiny, fragile hippo are long gone, Jenna Wingate, the Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa Keeper, told our media partner WCPO.

Here are three updates about Fiona that Wingate shared with WCPO:

1. The ‘dung shower’: Apparently, male hippopotamuses mark territory by slinging feces around with their tails in what Wingate called a “dung shower.”

Fiona has taken an interest in the action exhibited by her father, Henry, whom zookeepers have introduced her to, along with mom Bibi.

“Fiona is now getting access to that, and she shows quite an interest in it for whatever reason,” Wingate said.

MORE: Premature hippo a happy hit for zoo after gorilla death

2. One sassy toddler: Fiona eats about two liters of formula five times a day. Zookeepers introduced grain to her diet this weekend and started training her to associate feeding time with a clicker that they can use when she’s 600 pounds and too dangerous to approach.

“She’s very sassy. She’s very feisty. If she doesn’t want to do something, you’re not going to make her,” Wingate said. “We kind of act like she’s a toddler, and if she doesn’t want to come, we’re like, ‘Bye, Fiona!’ We’ll pretend we’re walking away and she’ll be like, ‘Wait, I want to be with you guys!’ and then she’ll come with us. She has her very big, very own personality already.”

3. Too big to snuggle: “There’s a big difference just in her energy and she’s much stronger and healthier now, so there was a lot of worry and she would kind of lie there and wouldn’t do a whole lot,” Wingate said. “She’s too big and a little bit dangerous to actually cuddle and snuggle, but she does like to lie on our feet or use our leg as a pillow now.”

2 face off in Troy council fight

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 2:00 AM

The Republican primary race May 2 for Troy City Council’s 5th Ward features incumbent Bill Twiss and challenger William Rozell.

No other candidate has filed for the seat, though an independent could still seek the position.

Twiss, 41, is a Troy native in his second term on council. He said his goal is to keep the city a great place to live work and play.

“Having four young children, I feel it is my duty as a councilman to preserve the quality of life for both my family and other Trojans,” Twiss said.

CHECK OUT OUR ELECTION 2017 VOTER GUIDE

Rozell, 57, is making his first bid for elected public office.

“It may sound corny, but Troy truly is a great place to have been raised, to live, and I want to be part of ensuring that continues,” Rozell said.

Being retired from the state auditor’s office, he has time to do the council job, he said.

The top issues facing the city include continued economic growth, Twiss said.

“I want to maintain a strong, working relationship with current businesses in Troy,” he said. He said he’s seen industries expand immensely such as Clopay, ConAgra, ARC Abrasives and F&P America.

“In addition to this growth, I want to continue to support small local businesses that make Troy unique,” Twiss said.

Other issues include safety and crime prevention, he said. “I have worked diligently to support the outstanding police and fire departments that we are blessed to have here in Troy. While they continue to receive high accreditations, I want to make sure the departments are fully supported and have the resources needed to be prepared to deal with the changing safety and crime issues Troy is now facing,” Twiss said.

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Rozell said the top issues facing the city include medical marijuana.

“While this has been decided at the present, I believe it will continue to be an issue that will be brought back to council in the future,” he said, adding he’d be willing to revisit the issue once the state has rules and guidelines established and enacted. The council recently voted to ban medical marijuana cultivating, processing and dispensing within the city limits.

Other issues Rozell identified include the city budget. “I believe it is each council member’s responsibility to prudently review proposed expenditures to ensure that the city maintains its solid financial footing.”

Another issue is safety, Rozell said, noting that while day-to-day safety is the administration’s responsibility, the council needs to ensure necessary personnel, equipment and technology are provided to maintain safety of employees and the citizens.

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