Columbus, OH – Bodycam footage captured the moment when a suspect abruptly opened fire on two Columbus police officers just seconds after they pulled up outside a residence early Saturday morning (video below).
“It was an ambush,” Columbus Police Department (CPD) Chief Elaine Bryant told reporters during a press conference on Monday, according to WSYX.
The incident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. on Nov. 12, when CPD officers were dispatched to a report of shots fired in the 600-block of Kingsford Road.
Bodycam footage showed the officers exiting their patrol vehicle to speak with a man who was standing outside a nearby home.
The man was later identified as 36-year-old Lamar Blue, WCMH reported.
“Hey, what’s going on, man?” one of the officers casually asked Blue as he stood near the closed driver’s door of his patrol unit. “Did you hear any gunshots or anything like that?”
Blue responded that he hadn’t and started slowly walking towards the officers.
The officer then asked him to take his hand out of his pocket, at which point the suspect pulled out a shotgun, bodycam footage showed.
“That gun came out of nowhere,” Chief Bryant said, according to WSYX. “If you look at the video, the suspect actually approached officers. He wasn’t retreating, he wasn’t trying to hide, he wasn’t trying to run, he was walking directly towards them with that weapon and he pulled it. They had no idea that he was the person that they were intending to engage.”
Blue opened fire on the officers just 13 seconds after they pulled up at the scene, leading to a shootout.
“He walked directly toward the officers – directly towards them,” Chief Bryant said. “In my mind and in my opinion, that was an ambush.”
CPD Assistant Chief Greg Bodker said one of the officers was nearly struck by gunfire, WSYX reported.
“This shotgun blast came perilously close to the officer on the passenger side of this car,” Assistant Chief Bodker said. “Only by good luck and the grace of God he escaped with his life that night and was forced to respond with deadly force.”
The officers returned fire and took cover behind the patrol unit for a moment before Blue took off running on foot, WSYX reported.
“I believe the quick action of the officer that fired shots saved both those officers’ lives,” Chief Bryant said, according to WBNS.
They chased after the gunman and found him a short distance away, suffering from a gunshot wound, WSYX reported.
“Officers provided life-saving first aid until medics arrived,” Chief Bryant told reporters. “The officers were sprinting sometimes at far distances to their cruisers to get their personal first-aid equipment. The officers utilized a chest seal, which they bought with their own money, to save the life of Mr. Blue.”
Blue was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition and has since been stabilized, WSYX reported.
He is expected to survive.
Neither of the officers were injured during the shootout, WSYX reported.
“They (officers) are not only enforcing the law, they are life savers,” Chief Bryant said. “They do care about the community and immediately once the threat was eliminated and they were no longer in danger, they immediately transitioned to trying to save the life. This is what they do.”
Investigators said they located a gun near the area where police found Blue, WSYX reported.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (OBCI) is handling the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
Blue has been charged with two counts of felony first-degree assault on a peace officer, WSYX reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: