Pubdate: Sun, 20 Oct 2002
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2002 Dayton Daily News
Author: Cathy Mong
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Clayton Helriggle Lived Young and Free Before Shooting

WEST ALEXANDRIA - Clayton J. Helriggle wore tie-dyed T-shirts,
corduroy pants with patchwork insert flares, attended Woodstock
commemorations and followed The Grateful Dead on tour.

Friends said the hippie lifestyle of his parents' generation
fascinated the 23-year-old, who died Sept. 27 when a Preble County
police officer shot him during a drug raid.

What happened in less than five minutes that Friday night is not
clear. Neither is whether police had been investigating Helriggle or
some of his roommates in the three days leading up to the raid.

Also still unanswered: Whether Helriggle confronted police with a gun.
That's what Preble County officers say occurred. Helriggle's
housemates say he had only a blue plastic cup in his hand.

Preble County Sheriff Tom Hayes has asked the Montgomery County
Sheriff's Office to review the shooting. Until that investigation is
complete, police say they will not discuss details, except to explain
that a tip about drug trafficking led them to the rented farmhouse.

Helriggle's place, a stone's throw from his parents' house, was an
1854 brick building with 87 acres of woods and fields, just right for
bonfires, barbecuing, shooting bows and arrows and target practice
with guns with his four roommates and their friends.

The 1997 graduate of Twin Valley South High School worked for his
parents in the family business, Helriggle Garage Door, along with his
brother, Harley, 25, of West Carrollton.

Helriggle liked what followed a day of manual labor -- a shower, a nap
and then dinner at mom and dad's. Afterward, he'd listen to rock 'n'
roll, make music, drink beer or smoke a little pot on the weekends,
his dad, Michael Helriggle, said.

That's what being 23 was all about in this part of Preble County,
where Helriggle took for granted the bawling of guinea fowl or
grumbling geese, the whinnying of geldings a field away, or the
excited baying of dogs roaming this untamed place.

Clayton Helriggle thrived on the freedom that accompanies fresh air
and unfettered space.

Family and friends say Helriggle's love of the open road and classic
rock music was superseded only by a love of family, which kept him
close to his parents' home.

But he was also looking for a special place to spend the rest of his
life. One of his favorite songs, the Allman Brothers' Melissa, seemed
to speak to him:

Again the mornin' comes

Again he's on the run

Sunbeams shinin' through his hair

Appearin' not to have a care

So pick up your gear and gypsy roll on, roll on . .
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