A shooting at a nursing home in Ohio left four people dead on Friday morning. The deceased were the Kirkersville police chief, two employees of the nursing home and the suspected shooter.
The Columbus Dispatch reports:
“The chief responded to a report of a man with a gun at the Pine Kirk nursing home at 7:50 a.m. in downtown Kirkersville in western Licking County.
“He was shot after he entered the nursing home. When authorities entered the nursing home, they found three other people dead. Two victims were employees of the nursing home, and authorities believe the [other] person was the shooter, Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said. …
“In the last communication authorities received from the chief, he said he had the shooter in sight. Thorp said he assumes [Chief] Disario had engaged the suspect.”
Chief Steven Eric Disario, 36, had been on the job for only three weeks, member station WOSU reports. He was a father of six, with another child on the way.
WOSU spoke with Kathy Rogers, who owns a thrift shop in downtown Kirkersville. Rogers said she heard multiple shots:
” ‘I heard the first shot. I thought it was a tire blown out,’ Rogers said. ‘I went back in the house, and I heard another one, and that’s all I know. Then I heard sirens. It got crazy.’
“Rogers says she heard several other gun shots, then a man ‘yelling and screaming.’ ”
Kirkersville Elementary was placed on lockdown and its students transported to the town’s middle school.
Pine Kirk Care Center is a 24-bed facility in a converted residence, the Dispatch reports.
“They cater to the forgotten members of society — folks that have, in addition to physical health care needs, behavioral health issues,” Peter Van Runkle, executive director of the Ohio Health Care Association, a nursing home industry group, told the newspaper. He noted that nursing homes are required to be open to the public so that people can visit their loved ones.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted that he was “shocked & pained by the horrific shooting in Kirkersville, ask for prayers for those injured. Grateful for law enforcement’s quick response.”
Kirkersville is a small town of 590 people about 25 miles east of Columbus.