LEETONIA-A Walnut Street man is wanted for felonious assault for allegedly shooting at his son during an altercation between the two Wednesday afternoon when Columbia Gas employees attempted to terminate service to his home.
The man, Douglas Illig, 49, fled the scene in a dark blue full-size 1997 Dodge pickup.
Police responded to 198 Walnut St. shortly after 1 p.m. after Columbia Gas employees reported the homeowner, Illig, placed locks on the gas meters, preventing them from being shut off. Illig reportedly would not cooperate with the responding officer and slammed the door on him.
According to Leetonia Police Chief John Soldano, Illig then became involved in a physical altercation with his visiting 31-year-old son in which he bit the son on the hand. When the son attempted to leave in his van, Illig fired one or two shots from a .22 caliber handgun from the house into the van, shattering the vehicle's side window. The son escaped without injury and the father fled the scene.
"The son's very lucky, he easily could have been shot," Soldano said.
The weapon was recovered and the son's van was processed as evidence by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Soldano said.
Washingtonville, Columbiana and Salem Township police, with the county sheriff's office and the highway patrol Lisbon post, assisted with the incident. The sheriff's office special response team was also requested because officials believed the situation to be a standoff, but was called off when officers discovered the homeowner had left.
The shooting occurred across the street from the public library, which was locked down and used as a safety zone. The school, located less than two blocks from the incident, was also locked down as a precautionary measure. There was no imminent threat to the school and elementary classes continued while school personnel monitored the school grounds until the students left for the day, according to Superintendent Rob Mehno.
"The library cooperated fully and the school was diligent in taking all precautionary measures, doing so in a timely manner," Soldano said, praising the public officials at each facility.
Soldano reported Wednesday night Illig had been spotted in Raccoon Township, Pa., southeast of Midland.
"A township officer saw his vehicle," Soldano said. "It went past him at a high rate of speed. The officer turned around, but lost him.
"Some of Illig's relatives went up there to look for him," the chief continued, adding he believes Illig has some family members buried in the cemetery there.
"We're not sure if he has any weapons," Soldano said.
The chief confirmed that a warrant for felonious assault had been issued, with more charges probable.
Wednesday's shooting was not the first time police responded to the home for a disturbance with the owner. Soldano said he responded to the home to speak with Illig approximately two weeks ago when Ohio Edison employees reported he was preventing them from terminating service.