Police chief killed in Ohio was father of 6

A police chief who had been on the job for just a few weeks and two nursing home employees are dead after a shooting this morning in Kirkersville, Ohio, officials said.

The gunman is also believed to be dead, Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said at a news conference.

Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric Disario, 36, died after responding to a call regarding a man with a gun, Thorp said. The last communication from the chief was him saying he had visual contact with the suspect, Thorp said. Deputies found him on the street, Thorp said.

Authorities learned that a shooter had entered the Pine Kirk Care Center nursing home. Three people had died inside — two employees and an individual believed to be the gunman, Thorp said.

The 23 residents of the nursing home were removed from the facility, Thorp said.

The suspect allegedly took two people hostage before he shot the police chief, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said at a news conference this afternoon.

“When the shooter got close to the nursing home, he apparently was in very small woods back there and actually took two passersby as hostage,” he said. “It was in that vicinity, very close to that, that the chief of police was in fact shot and was killed.”

The hostages were unharmed, Thorp said.

Disario had been the police chief for about three weeks, Thorp said. He is a father of six with another child on the way, Thorp said.

The motive is unknown, Thorp added.

Thorp said today was a “very sad day for our county and the community.”

Kirkersville, about 24 miles east of Columbus, is a small village with fewer than 600 residents. Police are not always on duty, Thorp said.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in a statement, “Ohio mourns the loss of Kirkersville Chief Eric Disario, who died in the line of duty. Join me in praying for his family, friends and colleagues, and for the others injured in this tragedy.”

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