Apparent suicide at county jail under investigation

By Sam Wildow -



MIAMI COUNTY —The Miami County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a possible suicide that resulted in the death of an inmate at the county jail overnight.

On Thursday at approximately 1 a.m., an inmate who had been housed in a single-person cell in the downtown jail in Troy was found unresponsive as a result of an apparent suicide attempt using a bed sheet. Unsuccessful resuscitation efforts were made by jail staff and paramedics, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

The deceased inmate, Shannon Gambill, 41, of Piqua, had been booked into the jail on Feb. 10. The charges which had caused his incarceration stemmed from a domestic incident in which he reportedly discharged a firearm while intoxicated in his home during an argument with household members.

The incident was initially reported as a disturbance with a possible suicide at a residence on East U.S. Route 36 in Springcreek Township on Sunday. According to court records, Gambill threatened to kill everyone in the house before going upstairs and firing a shot through the floor. The adult victim then left the house and took the children present during the incident to the Piqua Police Department.

The sheriff’s office responded to the scene, and they briefly shut down U.S. Route 36 before using the PA system in a cruiser to give Gambill verbal commands to exit the house. Gambill was detained without incident. He was reportedly intoxicated during the incident.

A .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber slug, and a box of .22 caliber ammunition were collected from the scene. There were also holes in the floor and the ceiling of one of the bedrooms.

The children present during the incident were between the ages of 8 and 15 years old.

Gambill was facing multiple counts of felonious assault and domestic violence.

The Miami County Coroner was notified regarding the death and ordered an autopsy. Sheriff’s detectives processed the scene and are completing a death investigation. There was no evidence of foul play.

Chief Deputy Steve Lord of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office said that Gambill had been at the jail for a few days and “seemed to be adjusting fairly well.”

Gambill was being housed in a single-person cell at his request while he was detoxing from recent alcohol consumption. “He requested that because he didn’t really want to be around other inmates, so it was kind of in an effort to accommodate him while he was undergoing that,” Lord said.

Lord said that state standards dictate that cells need to be checked every hour, but the sheriff’s office checks cells every 30 minutes in the county jail. There are also cameras in the rooms where the video feed can be monitored in the jail control room. The cameras are not infrared cameras, though, and the quality of the video feed at the time of the incident was diminished due to it taking place at night in the dark.

Lord said that they will be conducting an administrative review to ensure all policies and procedures were followed, such as checking when Gambill’s cell was last checked, but Lord said that type of death can happen very quickly. They will be checking to see if anything fell through the cracks or it anything preventable could have been done, but “initially looking at it, there doesn’t seem to be any of that,” Lord said.

“We feel for the family and understand it’s a loss,” Lord said.


By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336