A man who fatally shot himself on Jan. 31 in Granger Township was recently identified as 27-year-old Andrew Baumgartner, a Westlake resident who served in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.
Baumgartner was a suspect in a Cleveland Heights burglary and was suspected of break-ins elsewhere in Cuyahoga County.
“His parents still live in Westlake and his license listed a Westlake address,” Det. Jim Cartwrtight of the Medina Sheriff’s office said. Baumgartner was living in Sagamore Hills at the time of his death.
According to Cleveland.com, Baumgartner was walking on I-271 Jan. 31 and was asked by a police officer who asked if he was ok.
“The officer offered him a ride but patted him down first and requested he put down his bookbag,” reported Cleveland.com. “During the pat down the officer found a loaded gun in Baumgartner's waistband.”
NewsNet5 reported the officer and Baumgartner “scuffled” and the suspect fled.
Baumgartner escaped from the deputy and ran into the woods. After setting up a perimeter and searching for him, authorities found him dead in the woods with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Plain Dealer.
After Baumgartner shot himself, officers took a backpack with him at the time of the shooting and found two loaded guns in his backpack along with jewelry and watches. The items had been reported stolen from a Solon residence on Jan. 30.
Cartwright said his office was reviewing two burglaries in Cleveland Heights and one in Solon to determine if Baumgartner was affiliated with them. Stolen property located in Baumgartner's possessions has been returned to owners, Cartwright said.
“It’s still under investigation,” he said.
According to his obituary, Baumgartner was a junior at Cleveland State and also served in the US Marine Corps serving time in both Afghanistan and Persian Gulf. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat V.