Ohio Police Officer Killed in 'Ambush' Shooting During Call

May 13, 2024
Euclid Police Officer Jacob Derbin, who had been with the department for less than a year and was engaged to be married this summer, was shot and killed when he was "ambushed by gunfire."

EUCLID, OH — A first-year Euclid police officer in his 20s was shot to death Saturday night in what authorities describe as an “ambush” after officers responded to a menacing complaint at a home.

Late Sunday afternoon, the suspect was found dead after a standoff with police in a Shaker Heights apartment building along Van Aken Boulevard, authorities said.

A U.S. Marshal’s office official, who announced the death of the suspect, did not answer a question as to whether the suspect died of a self-inflicted wound. Shots and what sounded like explosions could be heard from witnesses outside the building.

The deceased officer was identified as Jacob Derbin, 23, who had been on the police force for less than a year. Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer said Derbin’s father is also a member of the police department.

“His kind heart and enormous smile were infectious,” Derbin told media late Sunday. “The world was a better place with him in it. He will be desperately missed by all who knew him.”

Meyer said police were called to a residence on East 211th Street by a woman who said the father of her child, and her mother were being threatened shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday.

She reported to officers that the suspect had fled before police arrived. Police entered the backyard and were “ambushed by gunfire,” Meyer said. Derbin died later at a hospital. No other officers sustained injuries, Meyer said.

During the late afternoon news conference, authorities from Euclid, Shaker Heights and the U.S. Marshal’s offices provided few details about what happened inside the Shaker Heights apartment building.

The suspect found dead in the apartment building was Deshawn Anthony Vaughn, 24, said Pete Elliott, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio.

Earlier Saturday, the Attorney General’s office released photos of Vaughn as part of a Blue Alert, saying he was at-large and identifying the vehicle involved as a white Volkswagen Passat.

Vaughn has an extensive record, a spokesman for the attorney general said, though he was unable to offer specifics.

Cuyahoga County court records list a Deshawn Vaughn of Euclid and of the same age as pleading guilty in 2021 to receiving stolen property and having weapons under a disability. He was sentenced to nine months in prison.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said that this Vaughn was wanted for violating the conditions of his supervision, warning on its website: “This individual should be considered dangerous and possibly armed. Do not attempt to apprehend this individual. Call your local law enforcement agency or 911.”

Dawn Marie Derbin, Jacob’s mother, shared a photo of her son on her Facebook page captioning it “my hero” next to a broken heart emoji.

“It is a cruel irony,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a news release, “that a mother lost her son on Mother’s Day, and that this murder happened just as we prepare to solemnize our fallen during Police Memorial Week. My heart burns with anger at this injustice, for the family of this young officer and the Euclid Police Department.”

Derbin graduated from the Kent State University police academy, a spokesman for Yost said. He was sworn into the Euclid Police Department on July 23, less than a year ago.

Gov. Mike DeWine ordered U.S. and Ohio flags to be flown at half-staff at all public buildings and grounds throughout Cuyahoga County and at the Ohio Statehouse, the Vern Riffe Center, and the Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus until sunset on the day of the funeral.

“In the wake of the tragic loss of our dedicated officer, we find ourselves grappling with a profound sense of sorrow and disbelief,” Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail said in a prepared statement.

“This moment calls for us as a community to come together in solidarity and support, not only to honor a hero who selflessly served and protected us, but also to offer strength to one another in this time of grief.”

Derbin was engaged to get married this summer, Chief Meyer said.

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