Suspect in 4 murders dies in Ohio shootout

A Columbus police officer stands guard near the scene of a shooting in Columbus, Ohio on April 30, 2011. AP Photo/Columbus Dispatch, Fred Squillante

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A man killed in a shootout Saturday in central Ohio that left four people wounded, including three police officers, was suspected in the slayings of four people whose bodies were found about 90 miles away at a house along a rural state highway, authorities said.

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

Twenty-seven-year-old Randle Lee Roberts II was killed in the shootout, police said. They did not say where he lived.

Officers learned after the shootout that Roberts was suspected in the quadruple slayings near West Union, a village in southern Ohio's Adams County.

Adams County Sheriff Kim Rogers told The Columbus Dispatch that a young girl alerted a neighbor that she had found four of her relatives about a half-hour before the shootout. She didn't know they were dead, but she knew something was wrong. Adams County authorities, who discovered the four were dead, alerted officers in central Ohio because the suspect had a wife who lived in Columbus, Rogers said.

The sheriff's office has not publicly identified the four people found dead or said when or how they died.

Police aren't releasing the names, ages or other information about the four people injured during the shootout but don't believe there's any further risk to public safety.

"We're confident that everybody that was involved with this incident is accounted for," Weiner said.

One of the injured officers had left the hospital by afternoon, and another was expected to be released by Saturday night. The third remained hospitalized in stable condition with a serious but not life-threatening injury, Weiner said.

Another man who was shot also was hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening. Police said the man was related to Roberts but did not say how. He was not charged.

Investigators remained on the scene of the shooting for hours, interviewing police officers and other witnesses and trying to sort out whether each of the weapons that were recovered belongs to police, the suspect or someone else.

An autopsy for Roberts is planned this week.

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