VAN WERT — An Allen County man killed last Tuesday after a two-hour long pursuit along U.S. 30 through Allen and Van Wert Counties was determined to die based on audio recordings of 9-1-1 conversations released by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office to The Toledo Blade last Thursday.

Identified by the ACSO as Terry “Rusty” Pierce Jr., 46, of Spencerville, the man first stole a semi cab from GLM Transport, then refused to pull over when ordered to do so by an officer of the Spencerville Police Department. Instead, Mr. Pierce led law enforcement officers from throughout the area through Allen and across Van Wert Counties before being shot and killed at 10:04 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30, roughly two miles from the Ohio/Indiana border.

In exchanges with 9-1-1 operators and law enforcement negotiators, Mr. Pierce repeatedly threatened to harm or kill motorists on the highway, going so far as to threaten to ram a school bus full of children.

Although making reference to past legal difficulties while speaking with negotiators and 9-1-1 operators, Mr. Pierce offered no clear motive for his actions, simply stating he felt his life was over.

“I’m tired of life, man,” Mr. Pierce said in an exchange with Sergeant Kyle Miller, acting chief of the Spencerville Police Department. “I will make every one of you shoot me dead, Kyle. That’s how [expletive] tired of life I am, brother.”

After making several efforts to bring the semi to a halt — including the deployment of stop sticks, vehicle maneuvers, and shooting out the tires on the vehicle — and after Mr. Pierce drove the semi west in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30, Allen County SWAT officers brought the chase to an end with lethal force. An autopsy conducted by the Lucas County Coroner and released by the Van Wert County Coroner stated Mr. Pierce was struck three times: once in the ankle, and twice in the lungs, with one of the shots entering the suspect’s chest severing a pulmonary artery.

The names of the officers involved in the shooting, as well as the number of rounds fired, remain privileged information pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation beingconducted by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

In a release last Wednesday, Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia expressed his full support for the officers involved in the shooting, and the administrators who made the call to use lethal force, commenting, “I can honestly tell you, this guy had bad intentions of hurting citizens in Allen County, and there was no way I was going to let that happen.”