KIRKERSVILLE, OH (WCMH) — A just-released BCI investigative file from the May 12 tragedy in Kirkersville reveals some additional detail about events leading up to the shooting.
In an audio interview with investigators, Harry Hartless, the father of the man responsible for the murders, says he met with his son in the early hours of the morning of the shooting. “I was trying to talk to him and get him to calm down,” Hartless said during the interview. “He just kept walking. He wouldn’t stand still. He just kept walking back and forth, back and forth and I said ‘son, you need to calm down’.”
Shortly after talking to his father, Thomas Hartless purchased ammunition at a local Walmart. A few hours later, Hartless killed his ex-girlfriend Marlina Medrano, Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric DiSario and Cindy Krantz before killing himself.
Investigators asked Harry Hartless about guns that Thomas Hartless might have had and the father describes how his son had a history of buying firearms at gun shows. “He probably bought it at a gun show – that’s where he got every other one,” Hartless said. “He’d go to a gun show if he wanted a gun and if he seen one he liked, he’d buy it.”
Hartless was a convicted felon and was not legally allowed to purchase or possess a gun.
After the shooting, investigators confiscated more than 60 firearms from Harry Hartless’ home in Utica. Those guns remain in the custody of Licking County.
Steve Loos of the Buckeye Firearms Association says most sales at gun shows involve licensed dealers and do require a background check. Vendors at gun shows who are not dealers though are only required to ask the buyer if they are eligible to purchase a firearm. That’s no different than the sale of guns between private parties anywhere.
Loos says however Hartless obtained the guns, he wasn’t allowed to have them. “If someone is hellbent on doing something terrible like this, it is really difficult to really prevent it 100 percent,” Loos said. “There’s no guarantee in a free society, sometimes things slip through the cracks and you can get ahold of things you shouldn’t have.”