Police seeking more info in deadly bar shooting

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Months after a man was shot dead outside a south Columbus bar, police are still searching for any link to a possible suspect.

On Dec. 20, Columbus police found the body of Gary Copling near the backyard of 2002 Studer Avenue in south Columbus. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

Investigators believe Copling and a second victim were meeting a half block away from where medics found him late last year. Officials believe the two men were in the Dawghouse Bar parking lot, at 2031 Lockbourne Road, when several other men showed up. It’s unclear what led up to the shooting.

The second victim, who has not been identified, was also shot. Police have not released a name or condition of that man, as their investigation is ongoing.

Copling’s murder happened as the City of Columbus was concluding a violent year with a record number of homicides, but Copling’s family says he is not a statistic but a loved family member who is deeply missed.

“We felt like we were’t there to protect him,” said Sherry Copling Warren. She is the oldest of Copling’s three surviving siblings. “It was just like horrific, horrific.”

All of Copling’s family lives out of state, making it that much more difficult for them to get closure in the case.

“We feel so helpless, like we can’t help in the investigation. We don’t know anything, and it magnifies what we’re going through,” Copling Warren said. “No one should have to go through this.”

Copling Warren said her brother was religious and had a great sense of humor. He leaves behind grieving parents, children and grandchildren.

The male suspects are believed to have left the scene in a dark four-door vehicle driven by an unidentified driver, but no other description of those suspects have been released.

Central Ohio Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for any information leading to the arrest or indictment of the people responsible for this crime.  Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS (8477) or go to www.stopcrime.org to e-mail a tip. Tips can also be sent by text to “CRIMES” 274637, keyword CMH.

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