Shots rang out earlier today at a central Ohio nursing home. A gunman entered the facility after shooting the city’s new police chief. On Friday the deadly rampage unfolded in Kirkersville, 25 miles east of Columbus. Reportedly, the killer gunned down the officer after he went to investigate a 911 call about a hostage situation.

Reportedly, the intended target was his girlfriend

Several sources said the man, who was hiding in the wooded area close to the nursing home, had taken two hostages at gunpoint. The suspect, identified as Thomas Hartless, is from Utica.

He went inside the building and opened fire, killing two women. Reports indicated that the 43-year-old was dating one of the dead women. Marlina Medrano and Cindy Krantz were the women killed inside the Pine Kirk Care Center. The women were employed by the nursing home as a nurse and a nurse’s assistant. According to official reports, Medrano was identified as the girlfriend of the attacker.

The police Chief was identified as 36-year-old Eric Disario. Randy Thorp of the Licking County sheriff’s department said Tiffani Chester, who lives close to the area, gave an account of the incident. Chester said the gunman accosted two people and held them hostage. After he shot the sheriff responding to the emergency call, the captured individuals escaped.

Miss Chester said she spoke to one of the escapees and learned he was walking on a trail behind the nursing home when a man hiding in the bushes ordered him at gunpoint to get down. The victim said he had stolen his cell phone minutes before he saw him kill the sheriff.

Gunman killed himself and three other individuals

Authorities said when they arrived at the scene the killer was dead in the middle of the street.

Thorp said they found two people dead inside the building. Edna Groves, who resides close to the facility, said she heard the gunshots and did not know what to do because people in the area were not familiar with these types of incidents.

The Pine Kirk Care Center is home to 23 elderly citizens, however, none of them were injured in the incident.

According to Thorp, they barricaded their rooms when the shooting started. They were later transported to nearby nursing homes and hospitals to stay until the investigation was completed.

Reportedly, Disario had been the new sheriff for almost three weeks. Officer Thorp said it is a tragic accident, however, while they mourn the death of their colleague, they are happy the threat no longer exists. He also added that they will work to process the incident and offer support to the family of the slain sheriff. The investigation is being conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.