Man Suspected In 4 Slayings Killed In Police Shootout


UPDATED: Sunday May 1, 2011 10:59 PM

A man suspected in the slayings of four people in southwest Ohio was shot and killed by police on Saturday, but not before he wounded three officers on the city's northeast side, authorities said.

The officers, whose identities were not released by police, were expected to make full recoveries, 10TV's Danielle Elias reported.

The ordeal unfolded shortly before 11 a.m., when police were investigating a complaint that someone fired gunshots at a house in the Linden neighborhood. 

A Mifflin Township police officer in the area saw a pickup thought to be involved and a short pursuit ensued.  A man eventually fled the pickup on foot in the area of Genessee Avenue and fired shots at officers, 10TV's Jason Frazer reported.

SLIDESHOW:  Images From Scene

Witnesses said they saw police officers chasing the man before gunfire rang out.

"When I looked out the car was smoking initially and the officers were already in pursuit," said Pastor Keith Wilson.  "I just thank God the church wasn't open and people weren't in here.  No telling who would have gotten hurt."

According to police, two Columbus sergeants and an officer suffered gunshot wounds.  They were able to exchange fire, fatally wounding the suspect, who was later identified as Randle Roberts, 27.

One of the sergeants was treated at The Ohio State Medical Center for a leg wound and released from the hospital on Saturday afternoon.  The officer was also treated at OSU for wounds to his legs, shoulder and ear, 10TV's Danielle Elias reported.

The other sergeant was transported to Grant Medical Center, where he was treated for several gunshot wounds to his legs. 

Police said the three officers have a combined 60 years of law enforcement experience between them.

"Very heroic actions by all officers involved, from all agencies," Gilbert said.  "I'm happy with the outcome that these officers are going to survive and that this is going to be lengthy investigation, but the suspect is not going to be able to go out and attack anybody from here out."

A fifth person was also shot, although it was not clear if that person was connected to the case or was just a bystander, Frazer reported.

Police said that the officers involved in the chase and shootout did not know that Roberts was being sought in connection with the deaths of four people in Adams County. According to investigators there, the bodies were discovered earlier on Saturday in a home near West Union.

Relatives of the four victims said Roberts was staying at the home because a warrant was issued for his arrest in central Ohio, WKRC-TV's Tiffany Wilson reported.  They said he "snapped" on Friday night, killing four of his family members.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office identified the victims as George Stephens, Roberts' father-in-law; Sonya Stephens, Roberts' sister-in-law; Kendra Stephens, also Roberts' sister-in-law; and Harley Stephens, Roberts' 11-year-old niece.

An 8-year-old girl, who was also at the home where the slayings occurred, was not hurt, Wilson reported.

There was a warrant issued in Franklin County for Roberts' arrest.  He was believed to have been one of the men caught on surveillance video stealing money from a self-serve car wash in Columbus, 10TV News reported.

Law enforcement sources also told 10TV that Roberts' was wanted by the U.S. Marshals for his alleged involvement in a burglary in Delaware County.  He already faced charges there stemming from a separate case.

The Delaware County Sheriff's Office said he was recorded by surveillance cameras, along with another person, trying to break into a Galena home in December.

Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for additional information.

Previous Stories:

April 30, 2011: Shooting Leaves 3 Columbus Officers Hurt, Suspect Dead