Man was former resident of Ashtabula County
By WARREN DILLAWAY firstname.lastname@example.org
MONROE TOWNSHIP_A 62-year-old Florida man was killed while hunting Monday afternoon just off Horton Road, said representatives of the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office.
Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator Richard Mongell said Randy Gozzard was hunting with three other hunters. The hunters separated, and when the three others came back together Gozzard was not with them. After going to look for him they found him with a gunshot wound.
Ohio Division of Wildlife Law Enforcement Supervisor Jarod Roof said the shooting was reported to his agency as a fatal shooting.
While Roof said the shooting occurred sometime in “mid-afternoon,” he was still piecing together the timeline around the incident and had not determined when Gozzard died.
“It’s an open and ongoing investigation,” he said.
Mongell said Gozzard was originally from Ashtabula County, moved to the St. Petersburg area but had purchased a home and was planning to move back to Ohio.
Roof and Mongell said they are working together on the investigation and trying to piece together what happened. Mongell said it does not appear the man shot himself.
Roof said investigators did not see any other hunters when they arrived.
Roof said Gozzard was found an estimated 100 yards from Horton Road in an extremely wooded area.
Family members in the area were notified of the Florida man’s death and, Roof said, some came to the scene on the dirt road south of Parrish Road.
Investigators from the corner’s office and ODNR will meet today to discuss the case.
Roof said it is unlikely more information regarding the investigation will be released today. He said investigations can take six months or longer.
Ballistics and other needed tests can often take a long time to complete. Roof said it likely will take time to determine if any charges will be filed in the case.
The Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department and Conneaut Police Department also responded to the scene, Roof said, as did six investigators from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and game wardens from Geauga, Lake and Ashtabula counties.
Roof said whenever there is a fatal incident a team of investigators is dispatched to the scene.
“We have sent the body to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office for a autopsy,” Mongell said. He said he expects a preliminary autopsy result this afternoon.
Roof said hunting is typically safe, but it is important for hunters to always wear an orange vest and hat and to watch behind target areas to make sure people are not behind the intended target.
It is unclear whether Gozzard was wearing proper orange gear, Roof said.
Also on Monday, a 65-year-old area man died while hunting, apparently of natural causes, said Sheffield Fire Department Chief Claude Kobernik.
“A gentleman was in his deer blind and he died of natural causes,” he said.
Kobernik said he was hunting on a friend’s property near 4040 Gageville Monroe Road and the property owner was concerned when he didn’t return.
“He went to check him and found him” deceased, Kobernik said.
He said Sheffield, Plymouth and Kingsville fire departments responded to the scene.
“I brought in Kingsville and Plymouth for their lights,” he said.
Kobernik said the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene.