Suspect dead, Columbus police officer injured in Far South side shooting
A Columbus police officer is recovering in the hospital and a suspect is dead after an exchange of gunfire following a reported armed robbery Wednesday morning on the city's far south side.
Columbus police officer Joseph Albert said officers arrived at Great Southern Shopping Center on Great Southern Boulevard less than two minutes after they got a report of a robbery in progress in the parking lot just before 7 a.m.
Officers exchanged gunfire with a man at the business, leading to the man and one officer being shot. Both were taken to the hospital, where the man died around 7:20 a.m., police said.
Speaking outside Grant Medical Center, where the injured officer was described as stable, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said late Wednesday morning that it was the second time in about a month that he had to visit an officer there.
On July 6, a Columbus police officer was shot on I-70 during the culmination of a pursuit of a stolen Porsche SUV believed to be connected to an armed bank robbery in Hilliard. In that incident, one suspect was also killed; two others were later arrested.
Ginther said Wednesday’s shooting was “unacceptable.”
“Any time an officer is shot, disrespected, assaulted, threatened in any way, that’s a threat to all of us, because these are our officers on the streets protecting our neighborhoods,” Ginther said.
Assistant Police Chief LaShanna Potts said police working “diligently, professionally, every single day,” have recovered over 2,000 firearms this year. She said there have also been 10 officer-involved shootings and 106 police assaults.
“If we can get the guns out of the hands of criminals, we wouldn’t be having this conversation every single week. But unfortunately, until the laws change, this is where we’ll be,” Potts said.
When asked about the violence of the past month, Ginther pointed to a proliferation of guns.
“You look at communities and states around the country where gun laws have become more reckless and dangerous, like they have in this state, violence has gone up,” Ginther said. “So, I don’t think it’s any surprise to law enforcement officers.”
Albert said police retrieved multiple firearms from the scene Wednesday morning. He also said that one person was in custody, though he could not say how that person was connected to the incident.
He did not identify the deceased suspect nor the injured officer.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is looking into the shooting, while Columbus police continue to investigate the reported robbery.
Albert said that the officer injured Wednesday, like the officer hurt in July, will have “another long road to recovery.” He was not sure when the officer would be released from the hospital.