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Two Killed, Columbus Officers Wounded in Shootout

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It was shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday as Reuben Bailey drove through Clintonville, tossing newspapers from his pickup truck to subscribers along N. High Street.

He had just finished delivering The Dispatch to Columbus Fire Station 19 at Northmoor Place when the still morning exploded into gunfire and sirens.

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Bailey watched as an SUV careened into the fire station's parking lot, followed by police.

Two officers got out of their cruiser, yelling at the occupants of the SUV and moving toward the firehouse before opening fire, Bailey recalled later from his South Linden home. More cruisers pulled into the firehouse; more officers fired.

"Those cops were so brave -- I gotta give it to them," Bailey said. "They were going in shooting; didn't use their cars for cover or anything like you see in the movies."

Bailey said he ducked into his pickup until the gunfire stopped. All told, Bailey said, he heard what seemed like 100 bangs.

"There were so many shots. I knew, whoever it was, they're gone," Bailey said. "It was more than crazy."

When it was over, a man and a woman were dead, two officers were left with minor wounds and shell casings littered a four-block crime scene along N. High in Clintonville.

"This is a fine example of hours of boredom and seconds of terror" for patrol officers, said Sgt. Rich Weiner, a spokesman for the Columbus Division of Police.

Killed in the shooting were Emmanuel Gatewood, 24, and Kourtney Hahn, 21, Columbus police said.

Gatewood, of Brentnell Avenue, had a history of gun-related crimes and spent nearly two years in prison starting in 2009 on charges of possession of drugs, carrying a concealed weapon and robbery.

Hahn, who reportedly dated Gatewood and lived on Karl Road, had no criminal record in Franklin County.

In the end, seven officers had fired their weapons, and 11 others had witnessed the shootout, as did several firefighters at the fire station.

The two officers who narrowly escaped bullets fired into their cruiser were injured by shattered glass. Police hadn't released their names as of late last night. They drove themselves to Riverside Methodist Hospital, where they were treated yesterday morning and released.

It all started because homicide detectives wanted to talk to Gatewood about the shooting death of Lance Glenn, 29, who was killed outside an after-hours bar at 952 E. Hudson St. on April 5.

According to Weiner and police dispatcher information, this is what happened:

Officers had been told to keep an eye out for Gatewood and the gold GMC SUV he was thought to be driving. Just after 5 a.m. yesterday, two patrol officers in the same cruiser spotted the SUV traveling on Foster Avenue, just south of Worthington.

Officers followed the SUV as it turned south onto N. High, and police ordered the driver to stop. But the SUV kept going. When it reached Brighton Road and Hennepin Avenue, someone inside the vehicle started firing a gun at officers. Several bullets pierced the windshield of the officers' cruiser, shattering the glass but not hitting anyone.

The SUV then sped north on N. High, with blown tires from spikes that had been put down by police and windows shattered by gunfire. It made it four blocks before plowing through bushes and into the parking lot of the fire station.

Both Gatewood and Hahn were shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene, with Gatewood's body outside the vehicle and Hahn's inside. Two guns were found in the SUV, including one with a high-capacity magazine.

Columbus police Chief Kimberley Jacobs went to the hospital immediately after the shooting to check on the two officers. She said the officers involved in the shootout reacted "very professionally. I can't be more proud of them. They're working in the middle of the night to protect us."

The gunfight could be heard from at least a mile away, but those closer to the shooting awoke to houses grazed and, in some cases, pierced by bullets.

Katherine Sites' home at 66 Northmoor Place became a crime scene, along with the rest of her neighborhood, when she found a bullet hole in her side door. The bullet had ricocheted off the inside door handle and landed somewhere in the basement. A police officer said he would be back to collect it.

"You never think something like this is going to happen so close to home," she said, "or to your home."

The shooting came during National Police Week and a day before Columbus' own annual vigil to remember officers who have died in the line of duty.

"This was a very dangerous situation," Weiner said. "We're lucky the officers weren't killed."

Copyright 2013 - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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