Community Mourns Loss Of Police Chief, 2 Elder Care Workers

  • 5/14/2017 2:13:34 PM
  • Larry Stine
  • Local News

KIRKERSVILLE, OH - People in Kirkersville, Ohio are mourning the shooting deaths of their police chief and two elder care workers, as we learn more about what happened during the horrific event,

Meghan Matthews reports.

"It's just a little tribute," says Darlene Ruff, who is honoring the fallen police chief.

It's the least Darlene Ruff says she could do.

"And he gave his own life to protect everybody and now his kids don't get to see their dad again," Ruff says.

For the police chief who pledged to protect her town, the Kirkersville community is at a loss over what happened as Chief Steven Eric Disario started his day.

"I remember he had given candy to the kids and it was just so sweet because he was new you know so, this is just our gratitude to say thank you for protecting all of us," Ruff says.

Disario, just three weeks into the job, died after investigators say he was shot by this man, Thomas Hartless.

"It's not something you ever want to happen and you don't ask for much but you ask for them to make it home in one piece," says Logan Cochran, also honoring the fallen police chief.

Police say Hartless held two people hostages behind the Pine Kirk Care Center before finding his way into the nursing home.

Inside, investigators say Hartless shot and killed two employees, Cindy Krantz and Marlina Medrano.

Police believe Hartless and Medrano had a past relationship.

"It's just a sad day," Ruff says. "We don't see this stuff here. It doesn't happen."

Across the street, the United Methodist Church opened its doors for nursing home employees, families and first responders.

"People are shaken up,"  says Pastor Matthews Van Winkle of the Kirkersville United Methodist Church. "But I've also seen people who are wanting to start healing."

Some of the healing has already started.

Blue bows and black ribbons are tied up along Main Street.

"To know he gave his life, his life," says Ruff. "That in itself should say so much to everybody."

A showing of support for the victims, families, the police chief, his kids and pregnant wife.

Chief Steven Eric Disario was just 36 years old.

The United Methodist Church held a special community prayer service Sunday for Disario and the two victims.


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