Witness says man shot at Port Columbus advanced on officers – Columbus Dispatch

Posted: Thursday, January 08, 2015

A witness to a fatal shooting at Port Columbus this afternoon said he saw a man advance on two
uniformed airport police officers, reaching into his waistband as though he might have a gun,
before a third plain-clothes officer shot and killed the man.

Police have since said the man was armed with knives.

Jim Shriner, owner of Broad and James Towing, said he was called to the airport to tow a car
that was illegally parked outside the departures level of the terminal.

When he pulled up, he saw a struggle between the two Port Columbus officers and a man and heard
two shots.

The man went down, he said, but Shriner wasn’t sure whether he was shot because he got back up
and began advancing on the officers.


>> Video: Witness describes shooting


>> Video: Police say man with knives lunged

He could see the officers and the man yelling, but couldn’t hear what was said. The officers had
their guns drawn but kept backing up for about 30 yards as the man kept coming, Shriner said.

The man reached into his waistband, but Shriner didn’t see a gun, he said. One officer hit
the man in the legs with a baton.

A third officer arrived and shot the man, he said. At this time, the dead man hasn’t yet been
identified nor have the officers involved.

Columbus police detectives who typically investigate officer-involved shootings in the city were
at the airport today. Sgt. Rich Weiner, a Police Division spokesman, gave this account of what
happened:

Around 1 p.m., the man attempted to buy an airline ticket with a woman’s ID and was turned away
at the ticket counter. Security officials saw him on the airport-surveillance system and tracked
him as he walked out of the lobby.

At the same time, airport police had called for a tow truck to remove a GMC SUV parked illegally
near the departures area. An officer who was waiting near the SUV began talking with the man.

“It looked like a casual encounter at first and then suddenly that man produced a knife and
lunged at the officer and attempted to stab him,” Weiner said.

The officer fired multiple times and the man fell, but got up again. A second officer fired and
hit the man. He was pronounced dead at the scene and was found with several other knives on
him.

Weiner said they know who the man is, but his next of kin has not yet been notified.
Investigators still don’t’ know why he was at the airport and why he was trying to travel.

The SUV was searched by the Columbus Fire Division bomb squad after the incident, though police
haven’t yet said for sure whether it was the man’s.

A Tweet from Port Columbus shortly after 3:30 p.m. said that some flights were being affected
and that arriving passengers should check the flight schedule.

The Concourse C checkpoint was closed temporarily. Vehicles with passengers who were going to
catch flights were being directed to the arrivals area.

Most people in the terminal were unaware that the shooting had occurred.


amanning@dispatch.com


tdecker@dispatch.com

@allymanning

@Theodore_Decker    

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