BOWLING GREEN -- A man who fired a shot inside a northwest Ohio BMV office is now dead. Officers shot and killed the suspect after he led them on a high-speed chase that stretched from Bowling Green to Bluffton.
It all began Saturday morning at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office on Wooster Street in Bowling Green. According to a news release from Bowling Green Police, an officer was first called around 10:30am by BMV employees who thought the suspect had presented false identification for a transaction. That officer talked to BMV employees, then approached the suspect.
As the officer approached, police say the suspect got visibly nervous, then started reaching for an object in his waistband. The officer and the suspect struggled, and during the confrontation, police say the suspect fired a round from the Carbon Tec .223-caliber high-capacity, high-powered assault handgun he was carrying. He left the scene in a 2006 Chrysler minivan with Michigan plates. A female passenger was in the minivan with the suspect as he fled on Interstate 75 southbound.
Several employees and patrons were inside the BMV at the time the shot was fired. No one was hurt.
A Bowling Green police officer saw the van a short time later, and started chasing the suspect. The chase led out onto Interstate 75, going south. Police say the suspect stopped shortly after he got on the expressway, and let a female passenger get out of the van. She was apprehended.
The chase finally ended at the Sterling Store on State Route 103 in Bluffton, about 40 miles south of Bowling Green, right along I-75.
News 11 has learned that when the man reached the Sterling Store, he dumped his minivan and jumped into a vehicle where a Canadian woman was sitting. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn says the man fired on officers, and they returned fire, killing him.
The woman was in the vehicle at the time officers fired. Two troopers were hurt in the exchange, but the patrol says their injuries are not life-threatening. They are at Blanchard Valley Hospital Regional Hospital in Bluffton.
The injured State Highway Patrol Troopers are Chuck Grizzard, 37, from the Walbridge Post, and Albert Leitenberger, 47, from the Findlay Post.
Detectives are questioning the woman who was in the van with the suspect when he sped away from the Bowling Green BMV. Neither her name nor the name of the suspect have been released by police.
The Hancock County Sheriff's Office is the lead investigating agency. As events unfolded Saturday, troopers from the Patrol's Walbridge, Findlay, and Lima Posts and a Wood County Sheriff's Office deputy joined the pursuit on Interstate 75 southbound. Bowling Green Police and Bluffton Police were also involved. Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification and the Patrol's Crime Lab assisted with the collection of evidence at the scene.
Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.