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From the Ashland County Pictures Facebook Page January 30, 2017

Award of Valor

Former Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Edward Ernsberger.

(For extreme and dedicated action taken on the 13th day of April 1984, when dealing with an escaped convict, from the Ohio State Reformatory. While being engaged in police activity at the time of his injury did sustain a serious injury (gunshot wound) in the line of duty that did result in a felonious assault by escaped convict Mark Manley.)

Saturday evening Richland County Sheriff’s office had their annual awards dinner. The awards were presented to Deputies, Jailers, 911 Dispatchers, and Detective’s but the one award that I was most interested in was long overdue and very well deserved.

The Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association Medal of Valor was presented for a shooting that changed a Deputy’s life forever. The shooting had a rippling effect on Family, the community, the Sherriff’s Department, and Law enforcement though out Ohio.

“Friday the 13th of April, 1984 was like any other night on patrol, until 7:15 PM. The events that followed haunt me to this day,” retired Deputy Ed Ernsberger said. “Being shot at point blank range is not an easy thing to get over.”

Sheriff of Richland County, Steve Sheldon attempted to present the award to Mr. Ernsberger, but quickly became choked up instead, opting for a big hug. “It was back years ago when I was a deputy too,” Sheldon said; one could tell the memory was still fresh in their minds.

Retired Deputy Ed Ernsberger started out by commenting, “I can say honestly I don’t deserve this award, but I will accept it for Bear (his K-9). If it was not for her, this award would be presented to my wife Jane because I would not be here.”

“Bear was family,” said Jane Ernsberger. “She was like our child.” She was a 145lbs full blooded Rottweiler. She would hit like a tank.”

“First time I met her she ran to the cruiser with a flattened basketball in her mouth,” Ed commented. “She was donated by a family to the sheriff’s department and the only complaint by the owner was that she would lean up against the mother’s knees, which was painful, and that got to be too much.”

Understanding what and how the shooting took place:

Deputy Sheriff Ed Ernsberger was at the Shiloh Out-Post talking with Captain George Klyler. After the conversation, Captain Kyler headed to Mansfield, and Ed was dispatched to Free Rd. for a suspicious person call. What Ed did not know at the time that he would be dealing with Mark Manley who had escaped from the Mansfield Reformatory three days earlier? The photo that was put out at the time did not look like Manley. The photo that was shown to law enforcement was of Manley when he first arrived in the prison system, with a shaved head and no beard. When Ed, arrived in the area he located a male approximately 6’03, 180 wearing blue jeans and a blue jean jacket, with long hair, and a full beard wearing a dark knit cap and carrying a white pillow case that appeared to have some heavy objects in it. This male would later be identified as Manley. When Ed pulled up to Manley, he slid the cage door open and lowered the passenger window so his K-9 partner Bear could get out if he needed her.

Ed, who was the Shiloh resident Deputy and knew many of the people in the area, got out and started to question the male. And when asked where he was going this male advised “Orange St”, and pointed towards the Village of Shiloh. Knowing that there is no Orange St. in the Village of Shiloh, Ed, asked for an identification from the Manley. Due to the heavy mist that was falling Ed decided to continue the interview in the front seat of his cruiser and advised Manley that he was going to pat him down for weapons. While patting Manley down in front of his cruiser Ed, located an 8” screwdriver in his waistband that had been filled down to an icepick point. Ed advised the male that he was under arrest and male started to fight with Ed. During this time this office used breakfront holsters, and during the fight, the male hit Ed, in the chest and pulled his 357. Colt Python form Ed’s holsters. While Ed, was engaged in combat with Manley, Ed’s K-9 partner Bear was coming out the passenger window.

Manley screamed “you know who I am and fired one round striking Ed in the chest. Manley was going to follow up with a second shot to Ed’s head, but Bear had distracted him as he fired the shot. This shot went to the left of Ed’s ear. Manley then fired a third shot, that struck Bear in the Chest causing Bear to crumple and drop. Ed then jumped across the ditch and Manley fired a fourth shot. This shot went through the arm opening under Ed’s Kevlar vest and bounced off his shoulder blade and existed through his collar. Bear ran towards Manley growling and Manley shot two rounds into Bears chest.

Ed had counted that Manley had fired six shots and he knew he was out of ammunition and Manley fired the gun again and it hit an empty cylinder. Bear had then climbed into the cruiser. Another fight in sued between Ed, and Manley, Ed, dove into his cruiser to reach for his shotgun and before he could hit the switch Manley dove on top of him and started to hit him in the head with the barrel of the revolver. . Ed, was punching Manley and Ed was able to knock the revolver out of Manley’s hand. When the switch clicked to release the shot gun Manley grabbed the shot gun. Ed put both feet into Manley’s chest and kicked him out of the cruiser. He then reached up put the car in drive and while still lying on the seat hit the gas. Ed was bleeding and had blood running in his eyes, but was able to drive down the road. Ed picked up his glasses off the floorboard of his cruiser, and saw his firearm on the passenger seat floorboard. Ed, emptied the spent casings and reloaded his revolver. Ready to get back into the fight. It was at this time that Ed finally had a chance to put out and officer in trouble call.

Ed had pulled into the driveway of Mr. Pete, the person that called in the suspicious person walking down the road. Pete stated “Ed he is walking down the road”. Ed responded “Pete I know he shot me, get back in the house”.

After all this happen Ed’s first thought was to protect the public and his K-9 partner Bear. Ed was taken to the hospital and treated for head injuries, a burn mark about the size of a half dollar on his chest at the base of his sternum (from the kinetic energy caused by the first gunshot wound) he had a gouge on his left shoulder approximately 1.5” long, caused by a gunshot wound and abrasions on his head, and two broken finger on his right hand. Bear survived the incident and was left with three slugs in her body for the rest of her life.

Ed Ernsberger and his wife Jane wrote of that dreadful night back on Friday the 13th of April, 1984.

Warning this story contains graphic and detailed description of the events that transpired that night starting around 19:15 Hours (7:15 PM).

Ed writes,

Sitting in the Shiloh substation having just spent 15 minutes with Captain George Kyler, I was dispatched to Free Rd. on a suspicious person call. Capt. Kyler was headed toward Mansfield. I walked out to the cruiser and proceeded to drive to the area. Upon arriving in the area I observed a white male, 6'3" 180 lbs., wearing blue jeans and a blue jean jacket. He had shoulder length hair, and a full beard wearing a dark knit cap. I activated my overhead lights and slid the cage door open and lowered the passenger window so Bear could get out if I needed her. Exiting my vehicle, I advised the subject to put what appeared to be a white pillow case down. It appeared to have some heavy objects in it. He lowered the bag to the ground and asked if there was a problem.

I stated that someone had called him in as acting suspicious on this road. Apparently no one recognizes you on this road. Where are you headed? He points to town and said Orange St. (There is no Orange St. in Shiloh). Do you have any ID? No. It was starting to mist heavily and I decided we were going to continue this in the front seat of my cruiser. I told the subject to place his hands on the cruiser that I was going to pat him down for my safety as I was going to place him in my cruiser to get us out of the weather. I repeated you are not under arrest this is just for my safety.

As I was patting him down I found an 8" screwdriver in his waistband that had been filled off to an icepick point. At that time, I told him to him he was under arrest. The fight was on. During the scuffle he got a hold of my .357 Colt Python. We used frontbreak holsters at that time. He hit me in the chest and pulled my revolver through my holster. At this point I was at the front of my cruiser and Bear was coming out the passenger window.

He started screaming why are you F****** with me? You know who I am! At this point he fired the first round striking me in the chest. Bear had come around the front of the cruiser and distracted him as he fired the shot aimed at my head. His eyes, and the gun followed Bear when he fired. It went to the left of my head. In the same motion he fired the third shot that struck Bear in the chest. She crumpled and dropped. By this time, I had jumped across the ditch, and he fired the fourth shot. It went through the arm opening under my vest and bounced off my shoulder blade and exited through my collar.
Bear had gotten up and was running toward our assailant. He fired the last 2 shots into her chest. She had been growling and yelped when the bullet hit.

People down the road heard me yell "You Son of a B****’ as I was running toward him. I had counted six shots, and I knew he was out of ammo. When he pulled the trigger the seventh time, and it clicked, he knew he didn't have any bullets left in the gun. We fought outside the cruiser and I was able to open the driver's door. Bear climbed back into the cruiser and had gone over the back of the seat and into her cage. As I am fighting him outside the car, I knew I had to get the shotgun. I kept thinking, "this son of a bitch ain't getting my car because he ain't getting my dog."

I jumped in the cruiser and was reaching for the shotgun switch when the suspect dove on top of me and started to hit my head with the gun barrel. I was able to knock the gun out of his hand and hit him in the face 3 times with my right fist. After hitting him, I was able to unlock the shotgun. He heard it snap open and grabbed it away from me. I put both feet in his chest and kicked as hard as I could. He was knocked out of the cruiser. I reached up put the car in drive, and while still laying on the seat, hit the gas. Blood was running in my eyes, but I was able to see over the dash and go straight down the road. I picked up my glasses off the floor and saw my Python on the passenger floorboard. Picking it up I opened it and put the spent rounds in my pocket. ( I was thinking evidence) pulled a speedloader from my belt and thought at least we can both shoot now. Grabbing the microphone and yelled 735 (my unit number) 10-3 (Officer in Trouble) I've been shot. Bear's been shot. I had missed several check-ins and units were already enroute. I advised a description of the suspect and advised he had my shotgun with 5 rounds 00 buckshot.

By this time, I had pulled into the driveway of Pete Hayes, my original complainant. Pete said, "Ed, he is walking down the road." I said, Pete I know he shot me. Get back in the house. I then contacted the Shiloh Fire Department and asked Chuck Huston to bring his Bronco which had lights and siren to transport Bear to Dr. Wally Wright. She had been whimpering in the back of the cruiser.

A vehicle pulled up and 2 farmers got out with shotgun. They had heard it on the scanner and were there to protect us. It took me 7 years of looking on to find out who they were. As soon as the first cruiser pulled up they put the shotguns in the trunk and left. Chuck arrived after the first cruiser, which was Plymouth P.D. and I got Bear out of the cruiser. She walked over to the Bronco and put her front paws on the tailgate and Chuck and I lifted her in. She was tough. I said Bear, heel, and she did. I said load, and she put her front feet on the back of the vehicle. This is with three bullets in her chest. I knew she didn't want to leave me because she started to get out of the Bronco.

I gave a rundown to Capt. Kyler who was there by that time. He ordered me to get in the squad. They wanted me to lay down. Nope. So I sat up all the way to Mansfield. They were trying to get the bleeding on my head under control. I remember seeing cruiser after cruiser going North on St. Rt. 13. I saw cruisers from everywhere going North. When I arrived at Mansfield General Hospital I walked from the squad carrying my vest, shirt and gun belt under my left arm. When I walked in, they asked where the shot Deputy was? "You are looking at him." Thank God and the DuPont Corporation for inventing Kevlar.

Someone had called Jane from dispatch and told her what had happened. All they told her was I was shot, Bear was shot and they didn't know anything else. She drove to the hospital by herself. No one said for her to wait and they would come and get her. She brought me a change of clothes, because she knew that my uniform would be going into evidence. She had also stopped at the vets to check on Bear, because she knew that would be my first question for her. She advised me Bear was still alive but hurt badly. She said she got to Dr. Wright's before Chuck and Bear. When he opened up the back of their Bronco, Bear was bleeding badly and didn't move. She said, "Come to Mommy," and Bear crawled into her arms. Wally then took Bear inside. Jane washed all of Bear's blood off her arms before she started to the hospital.

The doctor came in and looked at my chest first. I had a burn about the size of a half dollar on my chest at the base of my sternum from the kinetic energy. My left shoulder had a 1.5" gouge on my back. My head was still bleeding and I had broken 2 fingers on my right hand. He wanted x rays of my head. By this time the Sheriff was there and I gave him a complete verbal report. Jane had arrived at that time.

Time for a side story. I had done a K9 demo earlier in the day with Deputy Roger Casler at the Lucas High School. I had not worn my vest because it was going to be a long day. I stopped at the Sheriff Department for Watch Meeting at 2p.m. and to pick up Jane and my paychecks. It was a little after 3 p.m. when I got home to put my vest on and to give Jane our paychecks. She was mad because it would not show up in our account till Monday. She refused to kiss me goodbye. To be fair, she had been sleeping since she was on third shift and was grumpy.

They brought a gurney into the exam room and loaded me onto it to take me to X ray. Jane is walking beside the gurney holding my hand. I looked up and said I bet I get a G-- D--- kiss before I go to work next time, huh!! (Now you know the reason for the side story, lol)

They x rayed my head and found it empty. Took me back down to emergency and put me back in the exam room. I was really wanting a cigar at that time. Jane's mother, Irene and her identical twin sister, Jean Murray arrived. Jean was a Greenwich police officer and was armed. No one was going to hurt either of us. The Doctor told me he wanted to keep me overnight hooked to a heart monitor because they were worried about a heart attack due to blunt trauma. I told him I am not staying. The Sheriff walked into the exam room and the Doctor looked at him and said you tell that loud mouth SOB I am keeping him. The Sheriff ordered me to stay.
They set me up in a private room in cardiac intensive care with Jane and my portable radio so I could listen to the search. While lying there, I heard of a report of 2 shotgun rounds fired in the area of Swartz Potato Farm. Nothing found.

Everyone kept saying they didn't know who the suspect was. Jane kept insisting we get a photo of the escaped prisoner from OSR. Finally, I asked Jane at that time to contact the department and have them bring me the picture of the escapee from the Ohio State Reformatory that had happened 3 days earlier. When the picture arrived I was looking at the face of Mark Manley of Bryan, Ohio. The picture was clean shaven and buzz haircut. It was his Intake Picture from 2 or 3 years earlier. They were supposed to update the pictures every year, but had not done his. So I hadn't thought about the hairy person that attacked me and the no hair escapee until I remembered they both had acne scarred cheeks. Positive ID! Mark Manley was in prison for attempting to kill a Police Officer with his own gun.

I never slept that night, and Jane stayed with me the whole time. I listened to my radio and even gave information from the hospital room. When they released me the next morning Jane took me home. On the way I stopped and saw Bear. at Dr. Wright's clinic. Wally and a nurse had stayed with Bear all night. Bear lifted her head and I sat holding her for a while. There is no way I can ever repay Wally. Bear carried all 3 bullets till the day she died. He said they would wall themselves off in the body and he would probably killed her if he tried to remove them. She never had any problems with them. Wally called her a "super dog."

After I got home I slept and the next day I joined the Manhunt. I was riding with Capt. Larry Faith and Lt. Jim Burch of the Detective Bureau when a call came in from the Willard area of a possible sighting in the Celeryville area.

I pulled my brand new Stainless Steel Colt Python and checked the load. Faith asked me what I was doing? I told him, "I got shot by the bastard. I am not going to be caught off guard again." Looking back this was the first indication of PTSD.

Jane remembers...

When I got the call Ed and Bear had been shot, I didn't really know what to do. No one was coming to get me, so I knew I just had to take control. I called my family in Willard. They were going to meet me at the hospital emergency room in Mansfield.

Bear was a police dog. I knew she had been hurt, but I didn't know if she was alive. She was on her way to Wally Wright's and I was afraid she was dead. If not, then I knew she would be scared and I had to go there for her and for Ed. It was the right decision and one I would not change. Bear was scared, but she walked. I knew Ed was being treated if he was alive. He would want me to check on Bear.

My turn again.

I have had a few careers and have enjoyed them. I still can say I was a Richland County Deputy Sheriff K9 Specialist with pride. I can say I had the Best Partner you could ask for, together we were Guardians of the Night.

K-9 BEAR                                      End of Watch unknown


agency: Richland County Sheriff's Office