Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Police chief killed, another three dead in OH shooting

Police chief killed, another three dead in OH shooting

43-year-old Thomas "Tommy" Hartlesshas been identified as the Kirkersville shooter who early Friday morning fatally shot three individuals at a Kirkersville nursing home, 25 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, including two female staff members, along with a local police chief responding to the crime scene.

Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said Kirkersville Chief Steven Eric DiSario, two employees of the Pine Kirk Care Center nursing facility and the suspected shooter are dead.

Disario was responding to a report of a man with a gun, and his last radio communication said he had the man in sight, Thorp said. The hostages ran when the shooter fired and they were not harmed. Disario was shot on a street near the Pine Kirk Care Center, and the two employees and the gunman were found dead inside, Thorp said.

Thorp said authorities believe a fourth body is that of the shooter, but the shooter's motive and identification are not yet known.

Lifelong Kirkersville residents said the Friday shooting deaths of the village's police chief and two nursing home workers sent shockwaves through the small, tight-knit community.

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The shooting closed down the main street of the small village comprised of only about 500 people, as residents flocked to the Kirkersville Police Station to contribute to a makeshift memorial for DiSario.

Disario had only been chief of the police department for about three weeks, and he had six children and was expecting the birth of a seventh, according to NBC4.

"It's a very hard day for law enforcement in Licking County", Sheriff Thorp said.

US 40 is closed in the area and will remain closed for the remainder of the day, according to the patrol.

Law enforcement officials gather outside the scene of a shooting outside the Pine Kirk nursing home in Kirkersville, Ohio on Friday, May 12, 2017. When authorities entered the nursing home, they found three other people dead. The facility is secure, and it's unclear how the gunman got in, he said.

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Debbie Messer, who lives on E. Main Street, said she heard at least one gunshot.

"You could hear a guy yelling", Kathy Rogers said. A message was left with the center.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the case.

In response to the news, Ohio Governor John Kasich ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds throughout Licking County and at the Ohio Statehouse.

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