The parents of a Ohio man, one of two shot and killed by members of a police SWAT team Friday evening, are searching for answers as they try to accept a situation that took them by surprise. It was hard for them to believe that their son was involved in an armed robbery; even harder for them to think that he and his accomplices may have been involved in a string of other crimes.
Earlier in the evening of October 10, 20-year-old Elisha Glass walked out of his parents’ house on the South Side of Columbus, Ohio, where he lived. He told them he would be back in a while. It was Elisha’s father’s birthday and the family had been celebrating. Elisha did not return home that night and his parents did not know why until later the following day, when police officers arrived at their door. What they told Paul and JoAnn Glass, Elisha’s parents, has left the couple stunned and confused.
Sometime after leaving the house, Elisha, along with three others, drove to the Dollar General Store on Alum Creek Drive, where they allegedly robbed the clerk at gunpoint. Glass and another man, 18-year-old Qusean Whitten, carried out the robbery whilst their two accomplices waited in a car nearby. Dollar General stores in the area had been targeted previously – including the store on Alum Creek Drive, which had been robbed a week earlier. For this reason, a police SWAT team was conducting a stake-out when the robbery took place.
The cashier, Donna Butler, managed to call her son, Michael Freshour, during the robbery and he called 911. According to Freshour, his mother left the line open so that he could hear what was taking place. Afterwards, she told him that the two men left the store with $600. She also told him that the same two men had previously robbed the store.
As Glass and Whitten ran back to the waiting car, they were confronted by the police. According to local residents, several shots were heard. Both Glass and Whitten were shot dead. No police officers were injured and the two people inside the getaway car were also uninjured. According to the police report, guns were recovered from the scene although police have not said whether or not either of the two men who were killed opened fire.
A spokesman for Columbus police, Sgt. Rich Weiner, said that an altercation ensued when police officers attempted to arrest the two men. “Once they made it to the car, SWAT officers converged on them. At that point, shots were fired,” he said. The two accomplices, Aarin Clinkscales, 20, and Savon Dearmond, 17, were taken into custody; Clinkscales has been charged with aggravated robbery and Dearmond is charged with delinquency robbery and two counts of delinquency murder; according to police, the murder charges were brought because Dearmond’s actions led to the deaths of Whitten and Glass.
Paul Glass is looking for answers. Police have, so far, provided little information due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. Glass said that his son had never been in any kind of trouble before. Elisha was a high school graduate who had attended Ohio State University. He recently began studying computer engineering at DeVry University and also work nights for FedEx.
“They haven’t told me anything to know whether it’s true or not.” Glass told a reporter. “I can accept the truth, but I’d like to know it.” Police are currently looking into whether or not Elisha Glass and the three other young men can be tied to a number of previous robberies. “I don’t want to say nothing bad about the police.” The dead man’s father added. “We need police. Thank God sometimes for police.”
Elisha Glass’s girlfriend, 20-year-old Shawntel Knight, said that he had started behaving strangely over the previous few weeks, when he began to hang out with Aarin Clinkscales. She said that he would not answer his phone and then made excuses as to why he hadn’t. Meanwhile, his parents continue to search for answers as the investigation continues and the Columbus Police await statements from the SWAT officers involved in the shooting.
Graham J Noble