ROSS COUNTY, Ohio — A tragic weekend for two families in Ross County has several people grieving.
In one home, there is a homeowner who shot and killed a person they thought were breaking into their home. In another house, you have a family grieving over the loss of their loved one who they said was facing a mental health crisis and did not deserve to die.
Early Sunday morning, deputies were sent to the area of Anderson Station Road in Chillicothe after numerous homeowners called 9-1-1 to say a person was banging on their doors screaming for help. One dispatcher told responding deputies that they believed the man going house-to-house was possibly overdosing. Eventually, the man knocked on the door to a home in the 200 block of Anderson Station Road. The events that unfolded after that were not publicly released by law enforcement, but the end result was the homeowner shooting and killing 22-year-old J.T. Knotts.
The armed homeowner told law enforcement that they thought Knotts was trying to break in; and of course, law enforcement had been told by others in the area that they thought the man was overdosing when he knocked on their doors allegedly screaming for help.
There are several groups on social media that are dedicated to people listening to the local EMS radio traffic and reporting their movements online. After the shooting, many took to social media to post what they had heard dispatchers relay: that a man was going door-to-door, possibly overdosing, before one homeowner shot him as he allegedly tried to make entry into their home. Before it was over, rumors were circulating online that a drug addict was shot dead during an attempted home invasion. The issue with that is, family members of young J.T. said he was not a drug addict and instead, something more serious was happening.
Family members reached out to the Guardian Sunday afternoon as the news broke across the state that J.T. had been killed. They were quick to defend his name and said that Knotts was not a drug addict and had never used illegal drugs. Instead, the family said the 22-year-old was a retired marine who had been enlisted for four years before recently returning home to Chillicothe.
While the family was distraught and chose not to speak publicly on the record, they told the Guardian that J.T. had been deployed to another country for two years and had saw combat that “really messed him up.” It was only last year that U.S. President Joe Biden announced an end to the War in Afghanistan, which took the lives of thousands of service members and countless civilians. That’s when Knotts ended his contract in the Marines and returned home.
J.T. was seeing doctors at the local Veteran Affairs hospital in Chillicothe for serious psychiatric disorders brought on from his time in the service, family members said. Recently, he had been prescribed medications that were allegedly causing him to have delusions, family members told the Guardian. In fact, they said they had plans on Sunday morning to take him back to the VA to hopefully have him evaluated and have his medications readjusted.
When the family woke up Sunday morning to get dressed and ready for the trip to the hospital, they found their front door was opened and that Knotts was missing. It was not long before they saw the police presence in the neighborhood and learned what had happened.
“For someone to slander a veteran is a shame …. He was 22, he was disoriented, and he took a shower. He left my father’s house in shorts only, and was to go to the VA to be seen today,” a family member told the Guardian. “They had him on multiple medications and they knew it would collide. He is not a burglar, he was just a kid. He was an honored veteran and an excellent person. The VA let him down along with everyone who is slandering his name.”
Knotts was was pronounced dead at the scene. The homeowner was questioned, but no charges have been filed. The County Coroner has sent Knott’s body to Dayton for an autopsy. The family told the Guardian that they are confident that a toxicology report will exonerate their loved one and prove he was not on illegal drugs.
For now, the local Sheriff’s office, along with the state’s BCI, County Coroner, and other law enforcement continue their investigations, who said they will not be releasing any more information.
Meanwhile, two separate homes are in mourning on this gloomy Sunday evening.
If you or a loved one are suffering from mental health concerns, free help is available by phoning 800-273-8255.
© 2022 The News Company, Inc.
© 2022 The News Company, Inc.
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