Canton Police Officer Fatally Shoots 24-Year-Old Zachary Fornash Mistaking Pellet Gun for Real Firearm

Accident – Death – Obituary News : Tragic Shooting in Canton: Officer Fatally Shoots Man Carrying Pellet Gun

In a shocking turn of events, a Canton police officer shot and killed a 24-year-old man during a pursuit on Tuesday night. The officer, identified as patrolman Garrett Marino, believed the man, later identified as Zachary Fornash, was carrying a firearm. However, it was later discovered that Fornash was only in possession of a pellet gun.

The incident took place at approximately 10 p.m. in the parking lot of Skyline Terrace Apartments along Alan Page Drive Southeast. Residents flagged down Officer Marino, claiming that Fornash had brandished a gun during an argument. Marino swiftly initiated a foot chase, which led them to a parking lot between two apartment buildings.

Body camera footage released by the Canton Police Department shows Marino drawing his firearm and ordering Fornash to get on the ground and show his hands. Throughout the chase, Marino repeatedly warned Fornash to comply or face being shot. Despite the warnings, Fornash initially slowed to a walk and then turned and continued to walk away when ordered to put his hands on his head. It was at this point that Marino fired at least four shots, fatally wounding Fornash.

In a heartbreaking moment captured on camera, Fornash can be heard telling Marino that the gun was actually a BB gun. Several other officers arrived at the scene and apprehended Fornash, who was found to have been struck three times in the chest and once in the left leg. Officers provided immediate medical attention, using a trauma kit to seal his chest wounds and performing CPR. Paramedics from the Canton Fire Department also tried to save his life, but Fornash succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Online, Fornash is described as a father of three children, two of whom were his own, and it is evident that he loved them dearly. However, it is worth noting that Fornash did have a prior conviction on a charge of child endangering, stemming from an OVI charge earlier this year. He was also charged with domestic violence in Stark County just last month.

The pellet gun that Fornash was carrying was found inside his right sweatshirt pocket, according to another officer’s account. This discovery further confirmed that Fornash did not possess an actual firearm.

Officer Marino, an eight-year veteran of the police department, has been placed on administrative leave, as per department policy. Following the incident, he was taken to a hospital for a drug and alcohol test, and his firearm and ammunition were taken for review by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). The BCI is now conducting an independent investigation into the shooting.

Police Chief John Gabbard expressed his support for the independent review and his confidence in the BCI’s ability to thoroughly and objectively investigate the incident. He also extended his condolences to the family of Mr. Fornash, Officer Marino, and all those affected by this tragic event.

It is worth noting that Chief Gabbard was involved in a review of the Canton Police Department’s use-of-force policy. The policy, adopted in June 2020, emphasizes de-escalation, warning before shooting, exhausting all other means before resorting to lethal force, a duty to intervene, a use-of-force continuum, and comprehensive reporting. Additionally, the policy strictly prohibits shooting at moving vehicles.

As the investigation unfolds, the community of Canton mourns the loss of a young life and awaits the outcome of the independent review..