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Car dealership shooting: Employee 911 calls reveal new details

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio- Two police officers were shot during an exchange of gunfire with a disgruntled customer at a car dealership on Thursday. The officers returned fire, striking the suspect.

"We think we heard shots fired in our shop. We heard like nine rounds and then a bunch of our techs ran," one employee told a 911 dispatcher.

The incident happened at Classic BMW on SOM Center Road in Willoughby Hills around 2:00 p.m. Thursday.

"I'm underneath my desk with another employee," the caller told the dispatcher.

Police said employees called them because a customer in the service department was acting belligerent.

"We have some customer that we think might be on drugs in our service department. He's swearing; he won't leave. You guys might need to send someone down here," said another employee who called 911.

"Some of the guys said, 'do you see that guy over there? He's acting strange. He's really nervous and he had a camera; he was filming something," said Ron Varsey, who works in the service department.

Varsey was not present at the time of the shooting; he was delivering a vehicle to Parma.

The police chief said when two officers arrived, they first confronted the man inside the service department.

Willoughby Hills shooting

"There was some conversation between the male, white male, and the officers and at some time during that contact, the suspect drew a handgun and shots were fired," said Chief Christopher Collins.

The confrontation moved outside where officers fired back. Both officers and the suspect were hit. State BCI agents are helping Willoughby Hills police with the investigation. Just before sundown, they used a drone to document the crime scene from above.

"I heard like three popping noises," said Sherry Colburn, who was walking inside a medical building across the street from the dealership.

The gunfire even startled people in a medical building across the street.

"We didn't know if he was coming over here or where he was headed," said Pamela Cari, who heard the gunshots from inside the medical building.

Willoughby Hills police have not released the names of the officers. They say one has been on the force for three years; the other is a 25-year veteran.

During a press conference at around 3 p.m., the chief said the officers, and the suspect were in stable condition.

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