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PD: A break-in Thursday night led to officer's death Saturday night

Kaia Grant.jpg
Posted at 8:43 AM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 11:13:03-04

What started as a call to the police, concerning a man breaking into a residence on Thursday night, ended Saturday night with the death of a Springdale police officer, according to officials.

Terry Blankenship, 42, was arrested Saturday night after he crashed his car into a police cruiser on Interstate 275 near State Route 4, resulting in the death of 33-year-old Officer Kaia Grant and another officer being seriously injured.

The Blanchester Police Department said they received a call on Thursday around 8 p.m. about a man with a gun breaking into a home in the Blanchester Mobile Home Park at 800 E. Center St. The man fled the scene before officers arrived.

Blankenship allegedly broke down the front door of his ex-wife Krista's trailer with a pistol and said he was going to kill Krista's boyfriend. Blankenship went to the back bedroom, where Krista's boyfriend was on the phone with 9-1-1, and pointed the gun at his face, according to police.

The two men fought before Blankenship pistol-whipped the boyfriend and left the trailer. Blankenship allegedly said he "could have the police shoot him" as he left the trailer.

On Friday, the Clermont County Sheriff's Department contacted the Loveland and Elmwood Place police departments, asking them to be on the lookout for Blankenship since he had previously stayed with relatives in their areas.

Then, on Saturday night, an official with the Springdale Police Department said Blankenship led a pursuit after Elmwood Place Police Department tried to stop him in a traffic stop. This pursuit ended with the crash that killed Grant.

Springdale police believe Blankenship intentionally rammed the police cruisers, which then hit the officers. The officers were outside of their cruisers when the crash happened.

Grant was airlifted to UC Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Grant is the 10th area officer to die in the line of duty since 2000, according to the Police Museum website. It lists two other women – both jail matrons – killed on the job more than 100 years ago, Rosa A. Regan in 1908 and Anna M. Hart in 1916.

Grant is the first female police officer ever killed in the Greater Cincinnati area outside of jail duty, according to the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum, which posts a record of 205 local, state and federal officers who have fallen since 1845 on its website.

The incident is still being investigated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.