The Trumbull County, Ohio coroner ruled the death of Matthew Burroughs a homicide. Burroughs’ name is now added to the growing list of unarmed Black men killed at the hands of police.
The 35-year-old was killed by Niles police on Jan. 2 in his car near the Royal Mall Apartments. He died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, the coroner noted, WKBN reports.
Police claim that Burroughs had appeared at Niles Municipal Court on Wednesday when staff discovered that he had a warrant out on him for assault and menacing charges. A probation officer reportedly attempted to arrest Burroughs in court, but he fled, with police claiming he hit the officer with the door of the car as he drove away.
Officers eventually turned up outside of his apartment, where the shooting occurred.
It is still unclear what led up to the shooting, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is still looking into the incident and expected to turn its findings over to the prosecutor’s office.
In an earlier report, WKBN noted
that a BCI spokesperson acknowledged that there was no weapon found inside the vehicle Burroughs was driving, but their investigation will also look into whether or not the vehicle was used as a weapon.
Meanwhile, Burroughs’ pregnant girlfriend, Tara Elkins is just trying to figure out why he was killed, demanding answers of her own.
“We were building something. We have a child on the way, I’m five months pregnant with his baby. So I’m torn apart right now,” Elkins told WKBN
The warrants that were issued against Burroughs stemmed from a domestic dispute between the couple on Dec. 17. Elkins called 911 saying that Burroughs had waved a gun in her face, but said that they later worked it out.
Elkins insisted that Burroughs “had a huge heart” and “wasn’t a violent man.”
“They didn’t have to kill him like that,” she added.
Elkins has been sharing Burroughs’ story across Facebook, including one story from an alleged witness
who claimed that officers shot Burroughs on two separate occasions during the confrontation, presumably once after he was already incapacitated.
Elkins told ESSENCE in a statement, “I was in love and building something. We had our differences but, he loved me and my children. He did not deserve to be killed in cold blood. They took him from me and our unborn child, leaving us without a home. His family and I want JUSTICE FOR MATTHEW.”
In the meantime, two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation. The NAACP has also called for the Department of Justice to intervene, calling Burroughs “a victim of circumstance or color,” according to WKBN reports.
“I want justice to be served for Matthew,” Elkins said, who is due to give birth to Burroughs’ daughter in May. “We will get to the bottom of what happened to Matthew — period.”