By Julie Wilson

Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office

Officer Kaia Grant. Photo provided by Springdale Police Department

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters and Ohio Attorney General David Yost announced that Terry Blankenship (42) was charged with aggravated murder (special felony) in connection with the alleged purposeful killing of a police officer while on duty.

On March 19, Blankenship broke into his estranged wife’s home in Clinton County, Ohio, and pistol-whipped his wife’s friend, who was at the residence.  The homeowner and friend called 911. but when the police arrived, Blankenship had fled the residence.  A warrant was issued for his arrest on aggravated burglary.  As part of the police investigation, the police reviewed text messages he sent to his estranged wife and conversations he had with his mother indicating that the police would have to kill him, as he was not willing to go back to jail.

On March 21 at approximately 8 p.m., Blankenship was spotted by the Elmwood Police Department in their jurisdiction.  They unsuccessfully attempted to stop him before he got into his pick-up truck and fled.  A chase ensued on northbound Interstate 75.  

Uniformed Springdale Police Officers Kaia Grant and Sgt. Andy Davis parked their marked patrol vehicles on Interstate 275 west of State Route 4 and got out of their vehicles and stood ready to deploy their stop sticks as Blankenship’s pick-up truck approached.  With no obstacles in his way, Blankenship made a sudden turn toward the officers and drove directly into them and their marked police vehicles. The impact caused Officer Grant’s body to go airborne and cross the highway barrier and land on the opposite side of the highway.

Blankenship’s truck came to rest on the right side of the highway.  The impact of the crash turned on Officer Grant’s body worn camera.  The camera activated at approximately 8:15 p.m. and a single gunshot is heard.  Blankenship had extensive facial injuries as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  A loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic was found in Blankenship’s truck.  No shots were fired by any police officers on the scene.

Officer Grant was flown to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.  The Hamilton County coroner ruled her death a homicide as the result of blunt force trauma.  

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