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Columbus police searching for suspect who fired shots at off-duty officer on I-71

The suspect was driving a black SUV with tinted windows and drove off after firing at the off-duty officer.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Division of Police is searching for a suspect who reportedly shot at an off-duty officer Friday morning while he was merging onto Interstate 71 near downtown Columbus. 

Police said that an unknown suspect fired three shots at the officer while merging onto I-71 at East Broad Street in his vehicle just before 6 a.m. 

Brian Steel, vice president of the Columbus chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, told 10TV's Lacey Crisp that the officer was in uniform heading to work at the time of the shooting. 

Police said the officer was not struck by the gunfire, but his vehicle's back window and the driver's side door were hit. The officer was driving a personal vehicle during the shooting. 

Credit: WBNS-TV
Credit: WBNS-TV

The suspect, who remains at large, was driving a black SUV with tinted windows and drove off after firing at the officer.

The ramp from I-70 east to I-71 north was closed for several hours but has since reopened.  

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Columbus Police Felony Assault Unit at 614-645-4141 or Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS (8477).

Friday's shooting marks at least the third time officers with Columbus police were shot at while responding to calls. 

On Nov. 3, Raymond Hapton allegedly fired shots at officers outside of Tee Jaye's Country Place on Parsons Avenue. Prior to the shooting,  police confronted him and attempted to de-escalate the situation for several minutes. 

On Nov. 12, Lamar Blue was accused of firing shots at officers near the Wedgewood Apartments

Hampton and Blue are both charged with felonious assault. 

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