Bodycam video shows officers responding to bank robbery before pursuit
In about a 12-hour window from Thursday afternoon to early Friday morning, armed suspects were able to steal a Porsche from a dealership in hall, rob a bank in west Columbus near Hilliard and lead police on a chase along Interstate 70, resulting in a shootout that left one suspect dead and an officer shot.
After searching for several hours, one suspect was arrested around 1:30 a.m. on Friday in North Linden, but another suspect is still on the run.
Around 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, a suspect ran into the Byers Imports dealership on North Hamilton Road in hall. The suspect demanded workers get on the ground and hand over the keys to a vehicle. That vehicle was a Porsche Cayenne.
"It happened so quick that you almost can't process what's happening because it's just so outside the realm of norm," said George Kauffman, VP and owner of Byers Automotive. "It was very aggressive. When he pulled out the firearm, it wasn't just give me the car. There were definitely life-threatening statements made."
Kauffman said the employee who was held at gunpoint spent Friday at home recovering. Kauffman praised the employee for acting quickly, getting other employees and customers to safety.
The SUV was gone before officers arrived at the dealership, but undercover hall detectives were able to start tracking the vehicle.
The detectives tracked the Porsche to the Fifth Third Bank on Hilliard-Rome Road, south of Roberts Road, just before 4 p.m.
Sgt. Jon Earl with hall police said officers did not want to approach the suspects while they were in the bank, fearing it would instigate a shootout. Earl says he wishes his detectives could have stopped the suspects.
"Looking back from the hall Division of Police concern, had we stopped it, that might not have happened," Earl said, speaking about the Columbus police officer who would later be shot in the leg and hospitalized.
Body camera video shows the suspects were able to drive away from the bank and onto Hilliard-Rome Road.
Officers with the Columbus Division of Police took over the pursuit, which ended just east of the West Mound Street exit on eastbound I-70 around 4:10 p.m. Gunfire was exchanged, leaving one suspect dead and an unidentified officer wounded.
The officer was taken by his partner to Grant Medical Center in critical condition, and he was rushed into surgery, according to police. His condition was subsequently described as "stable."
Police said eight officers, whose identities have not been released, were involved in the exchange of gunfire. The officers' time with the division ranges from 10 months to 27 years.
Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge 9 Vice President Brian Steel said the wounded officer is a former Marine, and his wife and baby have been by his side while he recovers at Grant Medical Center.
"I looked [at] the officer and his beautiful, 4-month-old baby, and I said, 'Look at your child. This child is not growing up fatherless, and that is the most important part,'" Steel said on Friday.
Columbus Police Assistant Chief Gregory Bodker said the wounded officer is a patrolman in the west side of the city.
"This officer is struggling. He's got a long road ahead. We're confident that his toughness will pull through,” Bodker said.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther praised the staff at Grant Medical Center, who immediately operated on the officer.
"He has survived because of the incredible care here, the support of other police officers and the prayers of this community,” Ginther said.
Early Friday morning, one of the suspects was taken into custody in the area of East Weber and McGuffey roads in the North Linden neighbor.
Police say the suspect has not been formally charged yet, so his name has not been released.
Police released a surveillance photo of the third suspect, who is still at large.