COLUMBUS: A 9-year-old boy who police say was shot by his mother’s former boyfriend remained in critical condition Saturday after a series of shootings that ended with the man’s death.
Jaiden Dixon was at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Two more people were hospitalized Friday from the shootings.
Columbus police said Saturday that Officer Steve Smith was in stable condition and was expected to be released over the weekend. A second former girlfriend of the suspect had been hospitalized Friday in critical condition; the hospital didn’t have updated information to release Saturday on 42-year-old Vicki Vertin.
Police say after shootings at two locations, 47-year-old Danny Thornton was tracked to a shopping area, where he was killed after emerging from his car with a gun Friday.
In a 911 call, a police dispatcher warned that Thornton had threatened “suicide by cop.” The dispatch said Thornton had “claimed that he will not go down without a fight with police.”
The first shooting came at about 7:30 a.m. Friday when Thornton shot Dixon when he opened the door to Thornton at a residence in Grove City, a suburb on the city’s southwest side, said Grove City police Capt. Jeffrey Pearson.
Vertin, also identified by police as an ex-girlfriend of Thornton, was shot around 8 a.m. at a dental office in Groveport, a suburb on the city’s southeast side about 20 minutes away.
Police said Thornton entered the office and said, “Haven’t seen you in a while” before shooting Vertin, a dental employee.
Within two hours, authorities had tracked Thornton to a retail parking lot, where he was fatally shot.
Police said they recovered a handgun, which has been turned over to investigators to determine if Thornton fired at the officer. They were still trying to learn what set him on his deadly path.
Thornton received multiple traffic tickets in recent years, most for speeding, according to Columbus Municipal Court records. Franklin County records show a 1986 guilty plea to attempted felonious assault.
Jarid Fitzpatrick, 17, who lived at the home where Jaiden was shot, said they were getting ready to leave for school when the shooting happened.
“The nicest, cutest; he’s an angel pretty much,” he told WBNS TV in Columbus. “He’s never done anything to nobody. ... He wanted everybody to love him.”