Security guards indicted on murder charges after shooting death

Private security drew weapons, ordered man who was on property's trespass list out of car; say they shot him when he tried to run them down


By Lou Grieco and Doug Page
Dayton Daily News

DAYTON, Ohio — State officials will order Ranger Security LLC to surrender the registration cards of two guards indicted Wednesday on murder counts.

"The company is ultimately responsible" for returning the cards, said Geoff Dutton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

On Wednesday, a Montgomery County Grand jury indicted Justin Wissinger, 24, and Christopher Tarbert, 32, on charges of murder and abduction. The charges stem from the March 1 shooting death of Dante Price at the Summit Square apartments on Hoover Ave.

Ranger Security declined comment.

Both guards were certified by the state as security guards and allowed to carry firearms, according to state records.

Wissinger and Tarbert were arrested Wednesday. If they are released on bail, which had not been set Thursday afternoon, they will not be able to work as security guards while the case is pending because they will be surrendering their licenses and gun permits, Dutton said.

"Given their felony indictments, they're no longer allowed under the law to carry a firearm," Dutton said.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr. said Wednesday that the guards had overstepped their authority in trying to detain Price and by using deadly force to try to make him comply with them.

On 911 tapes, the guards said they had no choice but to shoot Price because he tried to run them down with his car.

The guards were patrolling the parking lot when they saw Price, who was on a trespass list and had been ordered to stay off the property. They pulled their weapons and ordered him to exit his vehicle. Instead, Price attempted to drive away and the guards shot at him at least 17 times, striking him three times, Heck said.

Dutton said that the state did not yet plan to take any action against Ranger Security related to Price's slaying. But the state is watching an unrelated misdemeanor criminal case in Franklin County Municipal Court, he said.

In that case, Ranger is accused of providing an unlicensed security guard in 2010 to a Columbus nightspot — a place that police there said was a suspected hangout for gang members. If convicted, Dutton said, the agency would again move to revoke Ranger's license.

Ranger Security was on the brink of losing its state license, nine months before Price's death, for a pattern of behavior one regulator called "a potential to cause serious harm to public safety". Without a license, Ranger Security would have been out of business.

Because of state regulators' faulty policies and procedures, however, the security company's ability to maintain its license is now in the hands of a Franklin County judge.

According to the more than 400 pages of records obtained by the Dayton Daily News, Ranger Security Inc. racked up more than 5,200 violations in four investigations during three years — that's nearly five violations a day — from the state agency charged with regulating security guards. Yet the same agency granted a new license to the company when it changed its name to Ranger Security LLC in 2011 despite the violations.

State public safety officials have said the agency has since changed policies and procedures to ensure the scenario is never repeated.

Dutton said the agency also has started a program that runs daily computerized checks on licensed security guards for felony convictions or indictments. Since then, 10 guards have had their registrations pulled, he said. Dutton also said that none of the others was involved in a death, and he could not remember a similar case.

Copyright 2012 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

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