By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man armed with a pellet gun was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy who had responded to a 911 call from the man's wife, who said she had been stabbed multiple times, officials said on Friday.
Thomas Hirko, 54, was shot twice and later died at an area hospital, after three officers responded late Thursday to the call about the stabbing at a Perry Township residence, about 35 miles east of Cleveland, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said.
One of the officers fired four times at Hirko after he failed to respond to multiple commands to lower his weapon, which later turned out to be an "Airsoft-like pistol," Sheriff Daniel Dunlap said. Hirko also said, "It's time to die," according to Dunlap.
An Airsoft pistol is a replica gun that typically shoots plastic pellets. Officials did not know whether the gun still had its orange safety tip.
Dunlap said he had no information on the medical status of Lorrie Osborne-Hirko, 55, who had called the emergency line and said she had been stabbed multiple times.
Officials said she was stabbed by her husband in the kidney area and back.
All three officers, none of whom were identified, have more than 10 years of experience with the sheriff's office and Dunlap said he believed no policies were violated in the shooting.
All the officers and Hirko are white.
Hirko had a criminal record dating back to 1985, which included three charges for driving under the influence, as well as charges for domestic violence and disorderly conduct, Dunlap said.
In 2006, Hirko barricaded himself in a home and threatened to kill himself following a “troubled break-up” from his previous marriage, Dunlap said. Hirko pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and intoxication that year, according to court documents.
An outside law enforcement organization will assist with the shooting investigation, Dunlap said.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bernadette Baum)