KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio-- The suspected gunman in the deadly shooting at a Kirkersville nursing home took two people hostage.
The shooter, whose name has not been released, held the two people hostage in a wooded area behind the Pine Kirk Care Center Friday morning before gunfire erupted, Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said.
The hostages were able to get away when the suspect shot Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Eric Disario, who was dispatched to the scene. The hostages were unharmed.
Other officers pulled Disario, 36, into a cruiser in hopes of saving him, but he died of his injuries.
Inside the nursing home, the suspect also killed two female employees. Investigators did not released their identities. Thorp said Pine Kirk is a secure facility and they do not know how the suspect got inside at this time.
"It's a very difficult day for law enforcement in Licking County," Sheriff Thorp said.
According to Thorp, officers did not exchange shots with the suspect, who also died.
Thorp and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine emphasized the investigation is still in the early stages. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the case.
Officers searched the suspect's home in Utica and located his vehicle at a travel plaza about a half a mile away.
The 24 nursing home residents were unharmed. Pine Kirk owner Tom Rosser said they were taken to other area nursing homes temporarily.
Disario, a father of six, had only been police chief for three weeks.