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Suspect killed, officer injured during exchange of gunfire at south Columbus shopping plaza

Police said another person was arrested, but their involvement in the incident is not known at this time.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An officer with the Columbus Division of Police was injured during an exchange of gunfire at a south Columbus shopping center on Wednesday. The suspect was killed in the shooting. 

Columbus Police Sgt. Joseph Albert said officers were called to a report of an armed robbery in the shopping plaza on Great Southern Boulevard, off of South High Street. Dispatchers received calls stating that a man with a firearm was robbing a person in the parking lot.

Officers arrived at the scene two minutes after receiving the report. Albert said gunfire was immediately exchanged between multiple officers and the suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Austin Huntzinger. One of the officers, a 15-year veteran, and Huntzinger were struck at least once.

Officers rendered aid to the officer and Huntzinger until medics arrived. The two were taken to Grant Medical Hospital.

Huntzinger was in critical condition and pronounced dead at 7:21 a.m. The officer was also in critical condition when he arrived at the hospital, but police said his condition had since improved.

Police said multiple firearms were found on the ground at the scene. Albert added that another person was taken into custody for questioning, but they were not involved in the incident.

"The events of this morning remind us all of the dangers our officers face while in the line of duty protecting our neighborhoods and our families. We remain eternally grateful for their courage and their sacrifices, today and every day, and I'm asking everyone in our community to lift up and pray for a full and quick recovery for our injured officer," Mayor Andrew Ginther said. 

Chief of Police Elaine Bryant provided the following statement:

"Today is another reminder of the dangers of our brave men and women in blue face each day to make our community safer. Early this morning, a Columbus Division of Police officer was shot while trying to protect others. This is a tragedy for all involved. 

We are thankful for the quick actions of this officer and others which undoubtedly saved this officer's life today. We ask the community to keep all of our officers in your prayers."

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.

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