ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — An Ashtabula man is dead following a confrontation with police early Thursday morning.

Christopher Mills, 37, was pronounced dead at the scene 7:33 a.m., said Richard Mongell, an investigator with the Ashtabula County Coroner's Office. His body was sent to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, he said.

Ashtabula County Sheriff's deputies were called to the 1900 block of East 39th Street at about 7 a.m. for a report of shots fired, Sheriff William Johnson said.

Three units arrived and were approached by neighbors, who pointed out the house where they heard the shots, he said.

A woman inside the house broke out a window and yelled that someone was inside the house and they had a gun, he said.

Deputies surrounded the house and discovered a door knob and door frame shot out, he said.

"They entered the home and hollered, 'Sheriff's Department! Sheriff's Department!'" Johnson said. "The perpetrator was wearing a bullet-proof vest, and had a shotgun, a handgun and a knife and he didn't obey the deputies' orders."

The perpetrator was shot and killed, he said.

Mills was the ex-boyfriend of the woman inside the house and they had two children together, Mongell said.

Neighbors approached Thursday afternoon declined to comment. Several people in the neighborhood called 911 that morning with information.

One man who lives in the 1800 block of East 42nd Street said he heard the first shot and counted the rest from there, according to 911 recordings. The man said it is unusual to hear gunshots on the east side.

"Gunshots kind of echo," the man told a dispatcher. "Five were just unloaded here about two seconds ago really."

Another woman who lives next door to where the incident occurred said her neighbor had an ex-boyfriend whom she had been having problems with, according to the 911 call.

The woman said her neighbor's ex-boyfriend had come to the home in the past with a gun and threatened to kill her. The woman also reported hearing five gunshots, and she said the shots woke up her children, who were crying.

"I saw someone jump off of her back porch and to me it looked like they had a long gun in their hands or a shotgun or something," the woman told a dispatcher.

A third caller said she heard gunshots from the home and when she looked she saw a woman in a window telling her someone had broken into the home and to call 911.

"It just woke me up from a dead sleep," the woman reported.

No police officers were injured.

A submachine gun was found in the man's vehicle, Johnson said.

An ambulance, a county coroner's investigator and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation were called to the scene. Thursday afternoon, investigators were at the roped-off scene coming in and out of the home.

Shelley Terry and Jon Wysochanski write for The (Ashtabula, Ohio) Star Beacon, which, like The Meadville Tribune, is owned by CNHI.

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