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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2011

Suspect in 4 deaths in rural Ohio home dies in police shootout

3 officers injured


COLUMBUS, Ohio — A man suspected in the deaths of four people in a rural Ohio home was killed Saturday in a shootout that left three Columbus officers wounded and another person injured.

Randle Lee Roberts II, 27, was killed in the shootout about a half hour after a young girl found the bodies of her relatives in a home near West Union, about 95 miles southwest of Columbus.

The girl who found the bodies did not know her relatives were dead, but knew something was wrong and alerted a neighbor, Adams County Sheriff Kim Rogers told The Columbus Dispatch. County authorities then alerted officers in central Ohio that the suspect had a wife who lived in Columbus, Rogers said.

The names of the four dead were not released, and the sheriff has not said when or how they died.

Police in Columbus were responding to two calls about shots fired into homes when an officer spotted and pursued a vehicle matching a description given by callers, Sgt. Rich Weiner said.

The driver crashed a two-tone pickup truck in a residential neighborhood, fired at the officer and ran, evading authorities for more than 10 minutes before the shootout erupted about 11 a.m., Weiner said.

Officers learned after the shootout that Roberts was suspected in the quadruple slayings.

“We’re confident that everybody that was involved with this incident is accounted for,” Weiner said.

By Saturday afternoon, one of two officers taken to The Ohio State Medical Center had been treated and released, WBNS-TV reported. A third remained hospitalized in stable condition with a serious but not life-threatening injury, Weiner said.

A man related to Roberts was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening. Police did not say how he was related to the suspect. He was not charged.

An autopsy was planned this week for Roberts, whose hometown was not provided by police.

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