Shooter in murder-suicide ‘raged out’ because of PTSD, ex-Army friend says

Army Reservist Jordan King said he believes his friend from their military days — the man police believe shot himself to death after wounding his girlfriend and killing her son Friday morning at a Miami Twp. apartment — lost control because he was suffering from PTSD.

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In a phone interview with this news organization, King emphasized he did not want to condone anything the shooter did and did not want to make any excuses for the tragedy that happened.

“This is my assumption,” King told WHIO TV’s James Buechele in a phone interview Friday night. “I believe he lost control. He raged out and he did what he did.... There was no coming back from that.”

Miami Twp. Police Chief Ron Hess said the 33-year-old man, who described himself as an Army veteran, is believed to have shot his girlfriend and killed her son in a murder/suicide.

The shooting suspect has been identified as Jovonie L. McClendon, Jr., 33. Carter Clemons, 6, was pronounced dead at the scene, and Di’eshia Patterson, 27, remains at Kettering Medical Center in critical condition.

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During a news conference Friday, Chief Hess acknowledged the shooter identified himself as an Army veteran during a 911 call.

When asked about the possibility that PTSD was a factor in the shooting, Hess said, “That is a comment he made to the dispatcher,” Hess went on to say Friday, “We have not done any investigation into background.”

This news organization obtained the 911 call made by the shooter, Jovonie McClendon, Jr. During the call he admitted he killed his girlfriend and her son and that he planned to kill himself.

McClendon then told the dispatcher, “I spent three and a half years in the Army overseas and I’m just tired now. So, goodbye. It was nice talking to you.”

Chief Hess has said the investigation remains fluid.

Fluid or not, King said he knows what happened with the man he has known since 2014 when they served in Baumholder, Germany. They were in the 51st Transportation Company, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Transportation Sustainment Company.

“We were basically truck drivers in the Army, working in the motor pool,” King said.

He and the accused shooter shared interests in cars and (Michael) Jordan basketball shoes.

King said he was his friend’s barber as well.

King said he was in denial when he learned, via Instant Messenger, his friend shot his girlfriend, her son and himself on Facebook live.

“Then I saw it for myself,” King said, who was Facebook friends with the accused shooter.

The scene Friday morning on Sagebrook Drive in Miami Twp. (Marshall Gorby/Staff)

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a serious thing, said King, now a reservist in Norfolk who shared that he is 60 percent disabled because of PTSD.

He reached out to this news organization, he said, because “I just want to make sure my friend is not depicted in a negative light.”

King said his friend was likable, a good guy. 

“So, when I seen this [on Facebook], I was like ‘Wow, this is not normal. This is not him. This is not normal.’ ”

King said he feels that veterans are abandoned by society and at the same time many veterans are too prideful to get the help they need.

This news organization has reached out to the Army for more information on McClendon’s service record and status. We have not heard back.

“I know there was an underlying cause,” King said of his friend. “A person on PTSD isn’t going to be triggered and act out. There has to be something he must have been going through.... Once you get to a certain extent, you just act. You don’t think about the repercussions.

“I’m sure he acted out of anger, because PTSD, you really can’t control it,” King said. “Once you’re on the loose, you’re raging.”