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Suspect in custody after Ohio trooper shot, injured during traffic stop in Findlay

The trooper was taken to the hospital with severe, but non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is being held on aggravated robbery charges.

FINDLAY, Ohio — A suspect is in custody after a lengthy search after an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was shot Wednesday night on southbound I-75 during a traffic stop.

The trooper has been identified as Josef Brobst, according to the Ohio Attorney General's Office. He is a graduate of Defiance College.

Suspect Robert Tramaine Hathorn was taken into custody around 1 p.m. around a Wal-Mart in Findlay - near US 224 and I-75 - after being identified by a civilian, troopers said Thursday afternoon.

Hathorn fled on foot after the shooting, which involved Brobst being shot by his own service weapon, troopers said.

Credit: Ohio State Highway Patrol
Robert Tramaine Hathorn is taken into custody on County Road 223 near Trenton Ave. in Findlay. He's accused of shooting OSHP Trooper Josef Brobst.

OSHP says Brobst, who is with the Findlay post, conducted a traffic stop of a black 2016 Chevy Suburban with Michigan registration for a speed violation around 11:05 p.m. near milepost 160 in Hancock County.

During the traffic stop, a struggle ensued between Brobst and Hathorn, who was driving the Chevy Suburban.

Credit: OSHP
Josef Brobst

Police say the struggle involved Brobst's service weapon that resulted in Brobst sustaining a gunshot wound. The Ohio Attorney General's Office says Hathorn shot Brobst.

Brobst was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. Police say he was shot in his lower extremities.

Police say Brobst's service weapon is in possession of OSHP.

Around 4:20 a.m., Hathorn's vehicle was recovered from behind a business on County Road 140 near Township Road 89.

"From the immediate response of an injured officer to quickly establishing a perimeter and working together to canvass the region, we were able to ensure that those within the impacted area were alerted and focus our resources to capture the suspect without incident," said Findlay mayor Christina Muryn.

Hathorn is being held in the Hancock County Jail on charges of aggravated robbery.

Records show Hathorn served four years for assault or resisting a police officer and assaulting or obstructing a public officer in Muskegon County.  Hathorn's other offenses include bribing or intimidation of a witness in Washtenaw County, Michigan, various drug-related offenses, felonious assault and failing to register as a sex offender.

Credit: Findlay Police Department
Hathorn

U.S. Rep Bob Latta offered his prayers to Brobst on Twitter Thursday morning, as did Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

DeWine also commented on the incident Thursday afternoon while touring a new nursing facility at Bowling Green State University.

"I've certainly been thinking of the trooper and his family," he said. "Being in law enforcement is a difficult job. When you pull over someone you never know what they're going to do. It reinforces how difficult it is to be in law enforcement today."

Findlay City Schools superintendent Troy Roth says Findlay City Schools, Liberty Benton and the Owens Community College Findlay campus were all closed Thursday as police hunted for Hathorn.

The mayor commented on the Findlay community's cooperation lending a hand to law enforcement's ability to apprehend the suspect without further incident.

“The largest impact today was to the schools. Out of an abundance of caution, schools closed and a few businesses within the area of the law enforcement perimeter worked under a 'lockdown' structure," explained Muryn. "The community was on high alert but went about their day and allowed law enforcement to effectively carry out their job.”

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