Domestic Violence at Root of Kirkersville, Ohio Shootings

As many people who’ve experienced domestic abuse and obtained civil protection orders know, that court-ordered document means nothing to a person bent on violence. On Friday morning, May 12, 2017, three people paid for that reality with their lives, as did the shooter himself, Thomas Hartless.

Those who died at the hands of Hartless, 43, included his intended victim, former girlfriend Marlina Medrano, 46, a nurse on duty at Pine Kirk Care Center at the time of the shooting, nurse aide Cindy Krantz, 48, and Kirkersville Police Chief Steven Disario, 36. The lifeless body of the shooter was found near the bodies of Medrano and Krantz inside the nursing home. None of the care center’s residents were injured.

When a report of an active shooter came into the Kirkersville Police, Chief Steven Eric Disario responded to the call. Disario’s last communication that morning was when he radioed in that he had the shooter in sight. Hartless had taken two passers-by as hostages and was in the woods behind the nursing home.

As more police arrived on the scene to back up Chief Disario, they found his wounded body in the street. Disario was taken to Licking Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries shortly after arrival. The father of six children, with another child on the way, had been at his job three weeks at the time of Friday’s shooting. Hartless’s hostages were unharmed.

The shooter then made his way into the Pine Kirk Care Center, where he shot both Medrano and Krantz, then himself.

Former Girlfriend, Marlina Medrano, Had a Civil Protection Order Against Hartless

As recently as May 5, 2017, Medrano had sought and obtained a civil protection order against Hartless after he was released from jail in April 2017 after assaulting Medrano in March 2017. In that petition, Medrano wrote:

“I no longer feel that my support can help Tom with his issues. I am afraid to be alone with him, that he will hurt me for good.”

Police records show that Medrano listed a concussion and cuts requiring stitches as some of the injuries she had received from Hartless. In a December 2016 police report, Medrano stated that Hartless had a handgun, that he didn’t like police and threatened to make her “pay for it” if she ever brought charges against him.

A police officer wrote in one of his reports:

“Thomas has even drove her out SR 79 north past the Wooden Nickel, beat her and then showed her a hole that he dug, advising her that he would put her in it if she did not stay with him. She stated that he is always threatening that he will hunt her down and kill her if they are not together.”

One of the shooter’s neighbors, Connie Long, with whom Medrano sought shelter after Hartless’s March 6, 2017, attack on her, said she had posted a warning to the community via Facebook that a “violent man” was loose after Hartless was released in April 2017.

Hartless had a criminal record in Knox and Licking counties dating back to 1992, with at least three domestic violence charges and served prison time for the abduction of a woman – again a girlfriend who sought to part company with him.

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  1. Jade

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