Beloit man charged with murder after stabbings at Ohio travel plaza


VICKERY, Ohio (WJW)– Authorities do not know what prompted a man to stab two others at an Ohio travel plaza on Tuesday.

Thomas C. Conner, 51, of Beloit, Wisc., is charged with murder in the stabbing at Erie Islands Service Plaza in Sandusky County, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Richard Reeder called it a “random circumstance,” and said they do not believe there is any relationship between the suspect and victims. They have yet to determine a motive for the attack.

Authorities were called to the plaza, located along the Ohio Turnpike, shortly after 5 p.m. The surviving victim told investigators he was sitting in his van while eating when the suspect approached him and stabbed him, said Sandusky County Sheriff Chris Hilton. He said he thought he was punched at first until the suspect pulled the knife away. He got into the back of his van and then ran to nearby paramedics.

A Sandusky County Sheriff’s deputy found Conner in the parking lot and repeatedly ordered him to drop the knife, the patrol said. The deputy used an impact weapon on the suspect, who charged at him, before shooting him.

One victim, identified as 66-year-old David. S. Diederich, of La Porte, Ind., died at the scene. The other victim, a 53-year-old Wisconsin man, was treated and released.

Conner was shot twice and taken by medical helicopter to a St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. Sandusky County Prosecutor Beth Tischler said he will be held at the Sandusky County Jail without bond after he’s released from the hospital.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the police-involved shooting portion of the case. The deputy, a 15-year veteran of the law enforcement, was placed on paid administration leave, per policy.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.