A shooter opened fire inside an Ohio nursing home Friday, killing two employees and the town’s brand new police chief, police said.
Dozens of law enforcement officers were dispatched to Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville after panicked 911 calls.
Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric Disario, 36, died, and two nursing home workers were also found dead, Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp confirmed.
“It’s a real hard day for all of us,” Thorp said. “The deputies who pulled him to safety, if you will, are having a real hard time.”
Disario was a father of six with a child “on the way,” according to Thorp. He had been police chief for three weeks.
Thorp said authorities believe a fourth body is that of the shooter, but the shooter’s motive and identification are not yet known. It is unclear how the suspect died, and police did not elaborate on what kind of weapon was used.
Reports of an active shooter at Pine Kirk Care Center began just after 7:30 a.m., according to NBC News NBC4i.
Thorp said approximately 23 residents were in the building when the bullets began flying. They were removed so the scene could be processed, he said.
The nursing home appears to be located in a residential area, and people in nearby houses were told by law enforcement to stay inside while authorities handled the situation.
A witness told NBC4i that he heard gunshots and saw people fleeing from the building. People shouted that they needed police, the witness said.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., officers said the situation had “been contained.”
Students who were en route to Kickersville Elementary School, which is near the nursing home, were diverted to Watkins Middle School, according to local reports.
The elementary school was on lockdown as a precaution while the police investigated.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich sent his condolences to the officer’s loved ones.
“Ohio mourns the loss of Kirkersville Chief Eric Disario, who died in the line of duty. Join me in praying for his family, friends and colleagues, and for the others injured in this tragedy.”