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Lake County Man Shot After Pointing Pellet Gun at Deputies

Dan Dunlap

A Lake County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a stabbing suspect late last night, and authorities now say Thomas Hirko was holding a pellet gun when he confronted officers.

The deputies ordered the 54-year-old Hirko to drop the realistic-looking fake firearm. They say he refused and instead raised the gun toward them. At one point, Hirko reportedly said, "It's time to die."

His wife was found inside the home with stab wounds, and her condition is not known at this time.
In a press conference today, Lake County Sheriff Dan Dunlap said there is no body-camera video of the shooting, and the department has been reviewing whether to use body cameras for about a year.
"It is extremely expensive and not legally settled on what all the maintenance and the care of providing public information and putting out all this video. We have a difficult time keeping enough cars on the road and deputies on the road without adding a huge expense to our operation.”

Dunlap added that the deputies have been removed from shift duties while the case is being investigated. He noted that Hirko has three D-W-I arrests and a domestic violence conviction.