113 mph incident nets arrest of shooting suspect

By Kelsey Leyva - kleyva@civitasmedia.com

A Wellington man arrested in a drunk driving stop was wanted by police in connection to a shooting incident earlier this year — and he may also be associated with suspects in the murder of Eric Zaffer.

John Landers, 47, was pulled over by Brunswick police shorty before 10 p.m. on Aug. 28 while heading south on I-71. He was going 113 mph in a 65 mph zone, according to a police report and court documents.

He was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, speeding, driving without a license, marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia, and having an open container in a motor vehicle.

Further investigation revealed Landers had active warrants through the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and the Wellington police department.

He was indicted Aug. 21 by a county grand jury on a count of improperly discharging a firearm into a residence, a second degree felony.

The case stems from a May 24 incident. Wellington officers responded around 4:45 a.m. to reports of gunfire at 212 Barker St., where three casings were recovered, according to chief Tim Barfield.

Officers had been looking for Landers for more than three months.

Barfield said Landers may have been “involved” with Bishop Howard, Ryan Crews, and Trevor White, who are suspected in Zaffer’s death Aug. 4.

Zaffer, 45, was found dead in his Peck Wadsworth Road home in Brighton Township with one gun shot wound to the upper right chest. He was dead before the start of a fire that drew firefighters to the house.

Barfield was reluctant to draw a direct line between Landers and Zaffer but said he believes Landers may have been part of other criminal activity with the three homicide suspects. The chief did not provide specific examples.

Howard, Crews, and White were indicted on Aug. 12 for an array of charges including robbery, murder, and arson. Landers was arraigned Sept. 1 and is being held at the Lorain County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Barfield said he was relieved that Landers was off the streets.

“I was incredibly happy to get that call,” he said.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.

By Kelsey Leyva