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Woman accused of shooting Columbus police officer facing federal charges

A woman accused of shooting a Columbus police officer on Thursday is now facing federal charges.
A photo of Rita Gray from when she was booked into the Franklin County Jail. (Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A woman accused of shooting a Columbus police officer on Thursday is now facing federal charges.

The shooting happened around 8:20 a.m. Thursday on Chelford Drive in northeast Columbus.

Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said officers were on Chelford Drive conducting a drug crime investigation with federal agencies.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said according to a sworn affidavit, 68-year-old Rita Gray shot officer Russ Weiner while he was participating in a search warrant at her home related to that investigation.

Quinlan said that Weiner is expected to survive.

Quinlan said Weiner is a member of the investigative tactical team otherwise known as the In/Tac team.

Investigators said that in a phone call to her son in May 2019, which was recorded on a phone call to her son who was in jail, Gray said, “If you break any door in I’ma be standing in that hallway…I don’t care nothing about you hollerin’ police because a robber could be police.”

"I’ll be standing right there in that hallway ready to blast. I’ll stand right around my corner there and blast however many shots I got,” she said.

According to the affidavit filed with the court, officers and agents knocked on Gray's door Thursday and announced they were there.

Police said no one answered so they entered the home and Gray shot at them.

She was taken into custody soon after and according to the affidavit, two semi-automatic pistols were found nearby.

The initial drug investigation started in January 2020, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the investigation was looking at suspected drug trafficking and possible financial activity related to money laundering and narcotics trafficking.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the investigation involved Gray's son and it is still ongoing.

Gray is charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and oxycodone, possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said if convicted, she faces at least 20 years up to life in prison.

Columbus police said a second officer was also injured on Thursday on Chelford Drive but the officer was not shot.