Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links

click here to
The Daily



06-18-03: Probe continues into police shooting death of Van Wert man with local ties
The Daily Standard

    An investigation into the shooting death of a Van Wert man, who has relatives residing in Mercer County, is continuing today in hopes of learning the motive.
     Darren L. Welker, 40, 615 S. Tyler St., Van Wert, was shot early Saturday morning at his residence after he reportedly opened fire on police officers who responded to reports of a man with a gun threatening suicide.
    Welker is the son of Shirley Kemper and the stepson of Joe Kemper of Maria Stein. He also has two sisters and a grandfather residing in Mendon.
    Police negotiators attempted to resolve the matter peacefully during a two-hour standoff, but Welker failed to surrender, according to police reports.
    Van Wert Police Chief Joel Hammond reportedly authorized the use of deadly force after Welker fired at officers from inside his house. Police sniper Sgt. Kurt Conn fired the fatal shot at 1:45 a.m., according to a press release from the Van Wert Police Department.
    Officers responded to the home after a woman called 911 to report a man at the address was suicidal and had a gun. They observed Welker with a semi-automatic pistol upon their arrival. The location from where the fatal shot was fired has not been released.
    Welker, the father of two and a roofer in Fort Wayne, Ind., reportedly lived at the home with his fiancee, Kelly Thomas.
    An autopsy will determine whether the victim had been drinking or using drugs at the time of the shooting.
    In addition to the handgun Welker fired, police reportedly collected a rifle, a shotgun, bullets, handcuffs, clothing and a television from his home. The 24 items are considered as evidence in the case.
    Hammond generally handles internal investigations, but he stepped down due to his involvement in the shooting. Van Wert Safety Services Director Jay Fleming will head up the investigation.
    The police chief was not available for comment this morning, with a dispatcher noting he was in a meeting.
    An obituary appears on page 5A of The Daily Standard today.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822