COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has taken over an overnight shooting investigation on the far west side of Columbus. A spokesperson with the Columbus Division of Police explained an officer fired his weapon while trying to apprehend a man.
Around 3 a.m., Wednesday, officers patrolling an apartment complex near Hilliard Rome Road and Summerlin Way found a person sleeping in what was later determined to be a stolen vehicle.
Police say, when the officers approached the man, he drove away, hitting several parked cars and garages in the complex. The driver took the car through a grassy embankment onto Hilliard Rome Road before police caught up to him in the parking lot of a nearby office park.
“It is unclear at that point if shots were exchanged between suspect and officers,” said Columbus Police Sgt. James Fuqua. “But we can confirm that at the initial location that an officer discharged their firearm.”
The driver of the fleeing vehicle was hit by the gunfire. EMS transported him to a hospital and investigators said his injuries were stable Wednesday morning. No officers were injured.
“The Columbus Division of Police Critical Incident Response Team no longer investigates our critical incidents — or officer involved shootings,” Sgt. Fuqua explained. “So there are a lot of things in this investigation we do not know due to the fact that BCI is conducting the investigation.”
For hours, Hilliard Rome Road was shut down in both directions between Manor Park Drive and Renner Road, as well as the adjacent apartment complex on Shakerton Lane, while BCI agents and Columbus Police detectives scoured the scene.
Neighbor Jodi Whalen said she tried to take her dog out for a routine walk when she encountered the extensive police presence.
“I took her out to go outside and walked into police tape and cops and everything out here at 5 o’clock in the morning,” she said.
Whalen showed NBC4 the damage to her street facing garage at the apartment complex. Police said the fleeing vehicle crashed into the wall of Whalen’s garage and through the walls of the next two stalls.
“There’s baby pictures, there’s VHS tapes with all the family on there,” Whalen said of the sentimental property sitting in the garage, adding she was grateful only material possessions were damaged.
“I’m glad it was really early in the morning and nobody was out here… and nobody got hurt or run over,” she said.
The Ohio BCI is investigating whether the man shot by the Columbus officer was armed or fired shots during the encounter. Columbus detectives are separately investigating whether to file charges against the man.
Sgt. Fuqua said the officer involved in the shooting was uniformed and it was believed he was wearing a body camera at the time.