Dec. 31—Two Fairport Harbor Police Department officers have been honored for the their efforts in investigating a violent gun crime and helping to secure a conviction of the perpetrator.
Patrolman Kyle Ochsner and Detective Kyleigh O'Brien received commendations from Mayor Timothy Manross at the December meeting of Fairport Harbor Village Council.
Ochsner and O'Brien both played pivotal roles in the probe that led to Darnell Burns being arrested, charged and convicted in connection with firing a gunshot at the head of his former girlfriend in Fairport Harbor.
The woman was inside a vehicle when Burns fired the shot, and the bullet missed her head by just a few inches, Fairport Harbor Police Chief David Koran said during the council meeting.
"We don't have these type of crimes happen too often in our small community," Koran said. "So it came as a shock to many that we actually had a shooting incident that took place."
Koran said Ochsner was the only officer on duty May 20 when he was dispatched at about 3 p.m. for a disturbance involving a gun.
Initially the victim was not able to be located, but Ochsner eventually found her in the vicinity of Sixth and Eagle streets.
"(Ochsner) had to sort through a lot of confusion as to what occurred," Koran said. "After we were able to figure out the how, what, where — at least the basics on this event — we were able to piece together who the suspect was."
Burns fled the area in a vehicle that was later found in Painesville.
The search for Burns eventually was turned over to the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. Burns was located and arrested at a residence in Painesville on May 26.
Koran said he was proud of Ochsner for his response to the initial call and pulling together key information on the crime that put authorities on the trail of Burns.
"As for the investigation that took place after that, the dedication and hard work of Detective O'Brien really brought this guy to justice and we got that conviction," Koran said. "And he's going to be serving 14 to 18 years in prison."
That sentence was handed down to Burns in November by Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge Eugene Lucci. Prior to the sentencing, Burns had pleaded guilty to a second-degree count of felonious assault, with firearm and violent offender specifications; and a third-degree felony charge of possession of weapons under disability.
After Manross presented the resolutions of commendation to Ochsner and O'Brien, he offered additional words of praise for the officers.
" A very bad man is not coming back for 14 to 18 years, and seriously, it's because of your good, solid police work and dedication," he said.