Procession carries fallen Clark County deputy from Dayton to Springfield

Members of the Clark County Sheriff's Office and members of other law enforcement agencies follow a SWAT vehicle carrying the body of fallen deputy Matthew Yates from the Montgomery County Corner's Office Monday July 25, 2022. The processional left Dayton to return Yates' body to Clark County. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Members of the Clark County Sheriff's Office and members of other law enforcement agencies follow a SWAT vehicle carrying the body of fallen deputy Matthew Yates from the Montgomery County Corner's Office Monday July 25, 2022. The processional left Dayton to return Yates' body to Clark County. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Yates, 41, fatally shot when deputies were ‘met with gunfire;’ 2 others also die at mobile home.

Hundreds of people lined the streets Monday afternoon to pay respects to a fallen Clark County deputy escorted in a law enforcement procession from Dayton to Springfield.

“Deputy Matthew Yates returned to Clark County today in an awe inspiring display of respect from not only the citizens of Clark County but throughout the Miami Valley,” said Clark County Sheriff Deborah K. Burchett.

ExplorePHOTOS: Procession carries fallen Clark County deputy from Dayton to Springfield

Yates, 41, was fatally shot Sunday morning at the Harmony Estates Mobile Home Park. He was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he died of his injuries.

A procession of law enforcement vehicles from Clark and Montgomery counties and from across the Miami Valley — led by an armored vehicle carrying the 15-year veteran’s body — arrived around 3 p.m. in downtown Springfield.

A crowd of community members and law enforcement officers alike sent off the procession in downtown Dayton, and an even larger, tearful crowd lined the streets near the public safety building in Springfield. Officers saluted and some community members hugged one another as the procession went by.

A memorial was placed near the fountains at Springfield City Hall Plaza on East Main Street, where mourners placed flowers on a sheriff’s cruiser and several deputies laid hands on it.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday ordered that all flags of the U.S. and the state of Ohio be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout Clark County and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center and Rhodes Tower until sunset on the day of his funeral.

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Lifelong Clark County resident Loletta McGowan paid her respects at the city plaza memorial following the procession. She said Deputy Yates made a powerful impact on her 12-year-old granddaughter, encouraging her to keep up with her school attendance and attend school on time. She said her granddaughter was devastated by news of his death.

“He was so good with kids, young and old,” she said. “He never had a bad word to say. And he did his job so well.”

Burchett said her office is working closely with Yates’ family on arrangements for his funeral services and that more information would be released in the coming days.

Yates was fatally shot after deputies “were met with gunfire” when they responded to a report of a break-in at the mobile home park, Burchett said. The man who called 911 to report the break-in of his home at 1132 Ashwood Drive in Harmony Twp. is suspected to have shot Yates after shooting a woman who relatives say was his mother.

Deputies and other law enforcement could not get to Yates for hours after he was shot. When they did get him out, the mobile home caught fire and was destroyed.

ExploreClark County deputy killed in mobile home park shooting

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting. Ohio BCI, which routinely investigates shootings involving law enforcement, on Monday did not return requests for comment.

Sections near the mobile home were taped off Monday afternoon as area law enforcement agencies, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and BCI worked to clear debris and gather evidence.

In front of the mobile home’s remnants, a makeshift memorial of candles, flowers and a Paw Patrol plush animal honored the slain deputy.

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A stuffed police dog sits with a small memorial in front of the burned out mobile home at Harmony Estates Monday morning. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

A stuffed police dog sits with a small memorial in front of the burned out mobile home at Harmony Estates Monday morning. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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A stuffed police dog sits with a small memorial in front of the burned out mobile home at Harmony Estates Monday morning. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Officials have not released identities of the suspected shooter and the woman, but relatives identified them Sunday as Cole Matthew White and Jody L. Arbuckle, respectively. They remained in the mobile home until after the fire was extinguished and their causes of death are under investigation.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office on Monday confirmed it had received two additional bodies from the Clark County case for autopsy. An investigator said any information would have to come from the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Another deputy was injured Sunday, but not by gunfire, during an attempt to rescue Yates, Burchett stated in a release. The special operations team member was taken to a local hospital but is now recovering at home.

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Clark County resident Barry Espy was at the scene and said his great nephew, White, was responsible for the shooting and was believed dead. Espy’s niece, Arbuckle, also was believed to have died in the home, Espy said.

Two body bags were seen outside the mobile home about 6 p.m. Sunday.

The sheriff’s office forwarded questions in regard to the shooting and fire to the BCI.

The Division of State Fire Marshal Fire & Explosion Investigations Bureau is continuing its investigation of the fire, State Fire Marshal spokesman Andy Ellinger said. His office did not share additional details about the investigation as of Monday afternoon.

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