An active shooter standing on Interstate 71 northbound and firing at vehicles Friday morning near the Gemini Place interchange — striking at least three vehicles — was shot by Columbus police after he opened fire on them, police spokesman Sgt. James Fuqua said.
The incident began shortly before 10 am when a young man or older teenager exited a vehicle along the side of I-71 northbound near the Gemini Place exit in Delaware County and started randomly shooting at vehicles on the interstate with a handgun, Fuqua said. At least three vehicles were struck, but there were no reported injuries to motorists, he said.
Columbus police and the Delaware County and Franklin County sheriff’s offices all started receiving calls about the shooting at 9:57 am, he said.
When Columbus police officers arrived at the scene, the young male suspect in a black hoodie started walking, then running north on the interstate away from police, and heading to the left shoulder of the northbound lane.
As one officer drives toward the gunman with the door of his police cruiser open, a video posted on Twitter — apparently taken by a female passenger inside the vehicle of a couple traveling southbound on I-71 — shows the suspect suddenly turn and fire multiple times on the cruiser.
The officer returns fire from inside the cruiser through his windshield as another officer on foot runs toward the right rear of the cruiser and at least four other law enforcement officers on foot heading toward the shooting, the video shows.
“Oh my god,” the male driver says on the video.
The suspect is seen turning and running as the Twitter video ends, but he was struck by return fire from officers and went down. .
Fuqua said the suspect was struck by officers returning fire and went down. .on social mediafrom policegunman began firing at them, Fuqua said, and and officers returned fire. The gunman shot at and struck a Columbus police cruiser multiple times before the gunman was hit by gunfire from at least one of the three Columbus police officers on scene and went down.
Officers rendered aid to the suspect until medics could take the unidentified male to a nearby hospital. The suspect was initially listed in critical condition, but has since been upgraded to stable condition, Fuqua said.
One Columbus police officer was taken to a local hospital to be examined for a non-gunshot-related injury, he said.
A female inside the vehicle the man exited along the side of I-71 was detained for questioning. No motive for the shooting spree was immediately known, Fuqua said.
Body cameras on the officers involved and police cruiser cameras were activated during the incident, Fuqua said. That video footage will be among the evidence reviewed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which, by policy, investigates all Columbus police officer-involved shooting incidents.
I-71 northbound was closed from Interstate 270 north to north of Gemini Place and I-71 south was reduced to one lane of traffic from Route 36/37 south to Gemini Place in Delaware County because of the shooting incident, according to Breanna Badanes, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The closings caused heavy congestion on I-270 east and west near the closed ramps to I-71 and I-71 south was backed up for several miles in Delaware County.
Jeff Simpson, who just assumed the role of president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, representing Columbus police officers, said officers did what they are supposed to do, protect the public.
The incident, he said, involved “someone making a very bad decision being on a freeway … Shooting at police, expect to be shot.”
The area where the shooting occurred while located in Delaware County, is within Columbus police jurisdiction.