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The Columbus Dispatch
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Theodore Decker, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Police say they had no options; wife had been cut
Columbus police officers secure the scene at Preston Pointe Apartment Homes on the Far East Side, where officers fatally shot a resident. His wife said he suffered from depression.
She was covered in blood, he still held the knife, and the police had rushed inside.
But right up until the gunshots, Deborah Goldbach thought she’d see her husband alive again.
“I heard the shots and I lay on the ground,” she said last night. “I mean, I wasn’t expecting that.”
The death of Wayne E. Goldbach, 49, capped what relatives said was a descent into depression and what Columbus police described as a potentially lethal showdown that left them with no options but to shoot.
“The officers acted properly with the situation they were confronted with,” said Leif Bickel, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9. “The suspect chose not to heed the advice of the officers and chose to escalate a deadly situation.”
Police called to the stabbing on the Far East Side yesterday fatally shot Goldbach after he came at them with the knife he had used to attack his wife, investigators say.
That account was supported by Lucas Bryant, a neighbor of the couple who said he called 911, then snatched up his son’s baseball bat and ran next door to help Mrs. Goldbach.
Bryant, 27, described his neighbor as crazed and wildly suicidal in his last moments.
“They had no choice but to shoot him,” he said.
But even as she recovered from stab wounds at a relative?s home last night, Mrs. Goldbach disputed the portrayal of her husband as violent and out of control.
Mrs. Goldbach said her husband of nearly six years had been battling ever-worsening depression. He had been on medication, was increasingly despondent and having frequent panic attacks.
She said yesterday’s attack came without warning, shortly after she woke up and left the bathroom.
“When I came out, he grabbed me from behind and just started cutting my head, cutting me up,” she said.
Her sister, who was staying with the couple, saw Bryant outside and asked him to call for help. He did, sending officers rushing to 5694 Celtic Sea Lane in the Preston Pointe Apartment Homes at 9:11 a.m.
Bryant said he could hear screams through the wall, grabbed the bat, and went next door. He found the door open.
He saw Mrs. Goldbach naked, bloody and cowering in the living room. Goldbach had a knife. Goldbach was screaming, mumbling incoherently, and trying to cut his own neck.
“He backed up into the bathroom and started hacking at himself,” Bryant said.
Bryant got Mrs. Goldbach a robe, wrapped a towel around her neck and helped her to the door.
Police had just arrived.
“I’m sure the cops just freaked,” Mrs. Goldbach said. “I mean, I was covered with blood from head to toe and so was he.”
Goldbach came at the officers even as they screamed repeatedly for him to put down the knife, Bryant said.
“Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” he said they shouted.
Bryant said Goldbach was about 6 to 8 feet from police when they fired.
Police said two officers, whom they would not name, fired their weapons. Bryant said he heard four shots.
Relatives said Goldbach was depressed, but not typically violent.
“That wasn’t something he would normally do,” said Karen Marvin, his ex-wife. “It’s just like a shocker to all of us.”
Marvin and Goldbach were married for eight years and had two children, now in their teens. She said Goldbach played drums in the 1980s in a local band called Flashback.
More recently he worked for Federal Express and the state, but had gone out on disability, family said.
“He’s such a loving man, and I need everybody to know that,” Mrs. Goldbach said.
She wished that police would have found another way to subdue her husband, but acknowledged that the scene they came upon was chaotic. Once she and her sister were safe, she said she thought it would end peacefully.
“We were both out, and we thought he’s coming out in handcuffs,” she said. “I’m not blaming the police, they were very good to me and they protected me. (But) I’m always going to have that regret and always wonder if they could have done something more.”
The incident is the 12 th shooting involving a police officer this year, and the sixth to end with a person killed. It was the second fatal police shooting in eight days.