COLUMBUS (WCMH) — One man died inside his crashed pickup as it burned Monday after he reportedly shot at people and vehicles on the West Side before leading police on a pursuit at speeds that approached 90 mph.
The pickup crashed near Fisher and Philippi roads about 12:30 p.m., rolled over and caught fire with the man still inside. Police approached but were unable to persuade him to put down a long-barreled shotgun. Rounds of ammunition exploded as the pickup burned.
Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office would not release the identity of the driver but said that the vehicle was connected to a suspect in a homicide Monday morning in Hancock County. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office identified the owner as Jordan Suydam and said it believes he was the driver, pending autopsy results.
“The suspect was refusing to put the weapon down,” Gilbert said. “Ammunition inside the vehicle started to explode. Our deputies, Franklin Township officers and Columbus city police from cover attempted to negotiate repeatedly with the subject to put the weapon down so they can go up and get [him] out; subsequently, the vehicle was engulfed in flames.”
The incident started about 11:30 a.m. when Columbus police received multiple calls of a person in a maroon Dodge pickup firing at vehicles in a Kroger parking lot in the 5800 block of West Broad Street. Police said Suydam got out of his vehicle and fired three gunshots at two people inside another vehicle. Suydam then got back into the pickup truck and fled the scene.
Columbus Police reported that at 12:06 p.m., they receive a report of a woman walking her dog near South Westgate Avenue and Parkside Road when Suydam fired two gunshots at her and fled the scene.
Approximately four minutes later, police said two men working in the area of the 2200 block of October Ridge Drive had one shot fired at them by Suydam.
None of the people were injured, Gilbert said.
About 12:20 p.m., Franklin Township police spotted the pickup near Frank Road and Harrisburg Pike. The officer began pursuit when the driver would not pull over. The vehicle reached speeds believed to be about 90 mph as the driver ran red lights on Georgesville Road.
Police pursued the pickup north, past the point where Georgesville Road becomes Philippi Road at Broad Street, where they temporarily lost sight of the pickup. The pickup went through the dead end at the north end of Philippi Road, jumped a creek and rolled over. Police spotted the smoke from the crash.
Armored vehicles were brought in to help extinguish the fire, though Gilbert said between 30 and 50 rounds of ammunition went off before it could be put out.
Officials were able to pronounce the driver dead just after 1 p.m.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office said it was seeking Suydam in connection with the death of Arthur Suydam III of McComb. It put out a description of Jordan Suydam and his vehicle, which matched the description of the pickup.
“On its face, finding out he was involved in a homicide somewhere else and not knowing it, I’m not shocked,” Gilbert said. “It makes you wonder why someone would drive around, doing this randomly, looking to shoot at people. We’ll never know potentially [what] his intent was. Maybe investigators up in Hancock County can shed some light on what they’ve got up.”
Officials are not sure of the suspects connection to Columbus or if there is even one.
Gilbert says the situation was extremely dangerous for the community and law enforcement.
“If he’s randomly driving around shooting at those people, what’s stopping him from running and taking hostages at any of the businesses around here or anything like that, so yeah, it was very tense situation,” Gilbert said.