KIRKERSVILLE, OHIO (NEWARK ADVOCATE) - What started as a typical Friday morning ended in a deadly shooting at a nursing facility in the Ohio village of Kirkersville, leaving the police chief and three others -- including the gunman -- dead.
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 had been chief for about three weeks, Thorp said, and was a father of six with a seventh child on the way.
DiSario was found outside the building by sheriff's office deputies, who pulled him to safety Friday morning, Thorp said.
When deputies entered the building, they found two employees and the suspected shooter dead inside. None of the 23 residents at the facility are believed to have been injured. As deputies cleared the building, residents and employees were found barricaded in several places, Thorp said.
DiSario responded to the scene from the nearby Kirkersville Police station on a call of a disturbance and a man in the street with a gun.
Thorp said DiSario's last radio traffic was that he had the man in sight.
DiSario was taken to Licking Memorial Hospital, where he died. His body has been taken to the Licking County Coroner's Office for an autopsy.
The number of shots fired in the incident is not yet known and if DiSario was able to fire any shots has not been determined. A home across the street reportedly was damaged by a stray bullet, but Thorp said that had not been confirmed to have been part of Friday's incident.
The names of the employees who were killed and the suspected shooter have not been released.
Friday's events have shaken the community of Kirkersville, located off Interstate 70 in southern Licking County and home to fewer than 600 people.
Thorp said the day is especially tough for law enforcement, saying the deputies who assisted DiSario on the scene were struggling to deal with the morning's events. A crisis team was on the scene to help assist those officers, as well as the residents in the facility and other employees.
The residents in the facility were taken by squad to area hospitals, including Licking Memorial Hospital.
In honor of Kirkersville Police Chief Steven E. Disario, who was killed in the line of duty May 12, 2017. pic.twitter.com/BG6D9K21LQ— Ohio State Patrol (@OSHP) May 12, 2017
Kirkersville Elementary School is closed for the day.
Ben Richards, communications director for Southwest Licking Local Schools, said all the students at Kirkersville Elementary were on the buses when the situation started and diverted to Watkins Middle School. He said they will keep the kids there at the middle school until they are given permission to return to Kirkersville.
U.S. 40 is closed in the area and will remain closed for the remainder of the day, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is processing the crime scene and leading the investigation into Friday's incident.
Thorp said he could not recall the last time a law enforcement officer was killed in the line of duty in Licking County.
In January 2016, Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell Jr. was shot and killed in the line of duty. Cottrell had ties to Licking County and had graduated from Central Ohio Technical College.
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