By Rick Palsgrove
A quiet Saturday afternoon in Groveport’s Elmont Place subdivision was interrupted by the sounds of multiple gun shots.
The Groveport Police, Madison Township Police, Madison Township Fire Department, Columbus Fire Department, Franklin County Sheriff deputies, and the Columbus Police SWAT team all responded to the incident.
According to Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams, his department received a report about shots being fired around 5:40 p.m. on Aug. 21 inside a home in the 4800 block of Elmont Place. Adams said the suspect’s girlfriend came home and found multiple bullet casings from an AR-15 style rifle on the floor of the home and bullet holes through the exterior walls of the house.
“She also noticed smoke from rifle fire inside the home,” said Adams.
According to the police report, the girlfriend told officers the suspect allegedly had been using narcotics and was mentally unstable.
Adams said the suspect allegedly fired 15 rounds from a rifle inside the house.
“He (allegedly) shot his refrigerator multiple times as well as other appliances in the home,” said Adams.
According to the Groveport Police report, several bullets exited the home and hit three neighboring houses.
“The city and residents were extremely lucky that no one was struck by these bullets that exited the home,” said Adams. “A man was sitting in his nearby backyard patio when one or two of the fired rounds struck a canopy umbrella and fence post in his yard. A couple more of the fired rounds appear to have gone toward a pond by the bike path just off Elmont Place.”
According to the police report, when police arrived the suspect did not answer the phone or leave the residence.
Some area homes were evacuated and the nearby streets and bike path were blocked off for safety reasons.
Adams said the Columbus SWAT team then unsuccessfully used a public address system to try and make contact with the suspect. The SWAT team then used “non-lethal rounds” and tear gas to gain entry to the house. A robot was employed and it found the suspect in the basement. Negotiations police and the suspect then began.
According to the police report, the suspect was shot by police with a Taser for failing to comply and was then arrested. There was no gun fire between the suspect and the police.
The stand off ended after four hours. The only injury sustained was to the suspect who was treated for injuries from the Taser prongs, according to Adams.
Upon inspecting the home, detectives found several full and half full high capacity gun magazines lying around as well as multiple hand guns and rifles, said Adams, who added the suspect has a valid concealed carry weapon license and that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is the agency with the authority to revoke such a license.
Adams said the Groveport Police have had past dealings with the suspect and that indications are that the suspect has “mental health and chemical dependency issues.” The suspect was charged with a felony for discharging a firearm in a residential community. Adams said other charges could follow.
“This was a bad combination of someone with (allegedly) mental health and chemical dependency issues with access to firearms in a situation that went wrong,” said Adams. “It was a combustible moment and it could have been much worse. We’re not going to put up with this kind of thing in our community.”
Adams commended newly appointed Groveport Police sergeants Josh Guiler and John Westhoven for their quick actions at the start of the incident.
Added Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp, “It was an excellent job by the police. It was a bad situation that ended pretty well.”
“It was an adventurous evening,” said Adams.