Commissioner reacts to news of prosecutor’s death

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MANSFIELD, Ohio -- A long-time county prosecutor is dead after a shooting at his home.

Mansfield police responded to the home of Richland County Prosecutor James Mayer late Friday afternoon for the report of a single gunshot. Police found Mayer dead outside his house.

News of the prosecutor’s death left Richland County Commissioner Ed Olson stunned and in disbelief.

"It just comes out of the blue, for me. I really don't know how to react other than I am very sad about it,” he said.

Police said a handgun was used and that Mayer’s wife was home at the time of the shooting. But, police did say the shooting did not appear to be a homicide and there was no threat to the community.

"The assistant prosecutor, when she called me last night, her statement was 'Jim had shot himself'. Now, was it an accidental shooting? I don't know. So, I don't think anybody is going to use the word suicide until the coroner's office makes a ruling,” Olson said.

Olson said Mayer had handled some high profile cases in the 26-years that he was prosecutor. He said he respected him for the job he did and man he was.

"He was easy-going. He was a great listener, very good communicator, and witty. He got along with people. He knew how to compromise. He knew how to work with people for a common goal,” Olson said.

The county commissioners are expected to meet Monday to appoint an interim prosecutor.

We may also learn Monday the coroner’s ruling on the cause of death of Mayer.

"Thinking about his family and he will be missed," Olson added.

Read more here.

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