MANSFIELD, Ohio — A recently fired police officer suspected of killing his wife led authorities on a chase Friday in a stolen sheriff's vehicle and was critically wounded during a standoff, officials said.
Hermando Harton carried two guns as he ran from the sport-utility vehicle into a wooded highway median, where officers shot him, said Lt. Gary Lewis of the State Highway Patrol.
Harton was in critical condition Friday at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. He was shot twice.
On July 8, Harton, 39, was fired as a Columbus police officer. He had faced a disciplinary hearing after he shot and wounded a passenger in the van of a fleeing shoplifting suspect while off-duty and working a security job, said Antone Lanata, acting police chief.
Early Friday, Harton called his former wife in California and told her he had shot his current wife, Elizabeth Harton, 27, said Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes.
The ex-wife alerted police, who found Elizabeth Harton dead in the couple's Columbus home. A few minutes later, authorities received a call that an armed man was in a truck stop 45 miles to the north.
"He came out with a gun in each hand and started shooting," Sheriff Tom Harden said.
Officers did not fire back, he said. Hermando Harton abandoned his vehicle with four children inside and drove off in the sheriff's SUV, which had the keys inside, officials said.
Officers chased him, and the pursuit ended about 30 miles away, near Mansfield, when state troopers put spikes down on Interstate 71 and stopped the SUV.
Harton jumped from the stolen vehicle and ran into the wooded median. He was shot shortly after.
The four children he left behind at the truck stop were in state custody, authorities said.
Elizabeth Harton had filed for divorce in 2000 but dropped the case a month later. Several weeks ago, Hermando Harton talked about filing for divorce, said his attorney, John Waddy.
Elizabeth Harton had entered the police academy the day before her husband was fired. Flags were at half-staff for her Friday at the downtown police headquarters in Columbus.