Suspect Opens Fire on Police Cars

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MASSILLON, Ohio - Police were digging bullets out of two of their cruisers on Friday following an overnight shooting during what started as a routine call.

Massillon Police Sgt. J.J. DiLoretto said relatives of Steven Bubenchik, 40, asked officers to check on him, fearing Bubenchik might be suicidal.

DiLoretto said when officers went to his Geiger Avenue S.W. home, there was no answer.

Bubenchik's parents believed he was still inside the home and thought they would have better luck getting him to respond than the officers.

When they were unable to talk him out, Massillon police tried again.

"They found an open window and one of the officers did go in and he was making his way towards the door to let the other officers in. When he was just about ready to open the door or get it ready to open, a shot rang out," said DiLoretto.

The officer retreated back through a window, but the shooting continued.

Melvin Britton was watching from his front porch and ran for cover.

"It sounded like loud firecrackers, tink, tink, tink." said Britton.  "You could hear the bullets ricocheting off of the houses, off of the cars."

As police officers scambled for cover, Canton's SWAT team was called in to help.

One of the police cruisers was hit five times, including by one bullet that went through the roof.

Another cruiser was hit in the passenger side window, the bullet going through the passenger seat.

DiLoretto said the officer driving the car had just pulled up to the scene and was alone in the car at the time.

"If anybody had been sitting in this seat, they definitely would have been shot," said DiLoretto, pointing at the hole made by the bullet.

Another bullet went through a second story wall of a home across the street where Gary Little had just been moving in.

"It scares the hell out of me, pardon my french, because I have little kids and it's not something you want your kids to be around and see," said Little.

Two more rounds went into the front porch of a home two doors away.

The shooting happened on the 11th anniversary of the death of Massillon Patrolman Eric Taylor, who was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Two of the officers who responded to Friday's shooting had been on that same call eleven years earlier.

"It brings back memories, and not good ones," said DiLoretto.

DiLoretto said Bubenchik has a previous felony conviction for which he spent ten years in prison and should not have had a weapon.

Police say the gun that was recovered from the house had been reported stolen.

Bubenchik was eventually talked into surrendering without anyone getting hurt. He was taken into custody and is in the Stark County Jail.

"We wanted it to end the way it did and we are thankful for that," said DiLoretto.