BEAVER CREEK - A 50-year-old Gahanna man reportedly committed suicide at Beaver Creek State Park sometime Wednesday, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating.
According to the patrol, the body of Gregory A. Shannon was found near the creek with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. County coroner's investigator Brandi Phillips was also at the scene.
Officers from the St. Clair Township Police Department responded to the scene just after 12:30 p.m., responding to a 911 call from walkers at the park.
Sgt. Mike Warner of the highway patrol's Cambridge district headquarters describes the scene at Beaver Creek State Park. Investigators from Cambridge are probing an apparent suicide along the banks of the Little Beaver Creek Wednesday. (Salem News photo by Patti Schaeffer)
Township Chief Donald Hyatt said Wednesday night the walkers initially came upon a vehicle parked near the cul-de-sac at the end of Picnic Area No. 1 with no one around. They walked past some picnic tables over an embankment and spotted the man but said they realized something was amiss when they called out several times and he failed to respond.
They immediately backed away and called 911, Hyatt said.
Although other news accounts indicated a suicide note was found, Hyatt said that was incorrect.
"I was there a long time and we found no suicide note," he said.
Gahanna is located in the central part of the state, and Hyatt said it was not immediately clear why Shannon may have been in the area or whether he has family here.
Hyatt said they believe Shannon had been there at least 6 to 8 hours before being found by the walkers.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol was alerted by St. Clair Township Police and took over the investigation, bringing in a helicopter that flew over the scene, apparently photographing it before landing at the soccer fields near the park.
Although the OSHP had no other details last night, Hyatt said his department's investigation showed no signs of foul play and he emphasized the park is safe for visitors.
"I don't want people to think they can't go down there and enjoy that beautiful park," Hyatt stressed.
Park manager Karl Mattern and other park personnel kept the roadway leading to the location blocked throughout the afternoon while investigators went back and forth, although park visitors were able to use the remaining facilities.
The victim's body was removed from the scene by North Star Critical Care ambulance.