KIRKERSVILLE, OHIO - An armed man shot and killed a police chief and two employees at a nearby nursing home in Kirkersville, Ohio, Friday morning.
No nursing home residents were injured.
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Kirkersville Police Chief Eric Disario was shot on a street near the Pine Kirk Care Center. The two employees and the gunman were found dead inside.
In addition to Disario, the two other victims have been identified as Marlina Medrano and Cindy J. Krantz, 43, both of whom were employees at the nursing home.
The gunman, Thomas Hartless, 43, (pictured below), was also found dead. He was identified by family members.
Court records show that Hartless had a criminal record including Abduction and Aggravated Assault charges from 2010.
Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric Disario, 36, was shot while responding to the active shooter situation.
NBC4i says Disario had six children and a seventh is on the way. Officials said during a news conference Disario had been police chief for three weeks.
Disario was found outside the nursing care center. Officials say the gunman took two passersby hostage in a small wooded area behind the nursing home. When the gunman was confronted by Disario, he shot Disario and the two hostages ran off unharmed.
The two employees and the suspected shooter were found dead inside the nursing home. Officials say they aren't sure how the gunman got inside the secured facility.
Authorities have obtained warrants to search the shooter's Utica home and two vehicles. One vehicle was found about a mile away at a Pilot Flying J off Interstate 70.
Officials say they aren't yet sure of a motive behind the killings.
The nearby elementary school was placed on lockdown, NBC4i reports.
According to the Newark Advocate, Southwest Licking Local School District students were on buses when the situation started. Those students were taken to Watkins Middle School.
Medical helicopters were called to land at the National Trail Raceway. The nursing home's remaining residents were taken to local hospitals.
In reaction to the tragic event, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) offered his condolences:
“Connie and I extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims in today’s tragic shooting, including Police Chief Disario’s family and the men and women of the Kirkersville Police Department. Chief Disario gave the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery and all of us are grateful to him and his family for their service to the community. As always, we are thankful to the first responders who acted to keep residents of the nursing home safe and to protect the surrounding community. My office stands ready to assist in any way it can as law enforcement continue to investigate.”
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) also released the following statement on this morning’s shooting in Kirkersville:
“Jane and I are heartbroken to hear of the death of Kirksersville Police Chief Steven Eric Disario, who was trying to keep safe the patients and staff at a nursing home in Kirkersville. We extend our deepest condolences to the Disario family and this community. As we begin police week, we remember the brave service of all police officers, who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. We hope that everyone will join us in lifting up the family of this heroic officer in prayer.”
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