Westerville News & Public Opinion

Police: Route 161-Buenos Aires shooting likely drug-related

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A shooting at the corner of Buenos Aires Boulevard and state Route 161 Monday night, June 16 is believed to be drug-related, Blendon Township Police Chief John Belford said.

Travis T. Thomas III, 25, of Ash Point Drive in Columbus, is believed to have shot an unidentified 29-year-old male victim inside the victim's vehicle.

"The probability is that it was drug-related," Belford said, though as of Tuesday morning, June 17, the vehicle still was waiting to be searched by the state crime lab.

According to Belford, witnesses told police that the victim about 7:29 p.m. exited his car in traffic at the intersection, with a gunshot wound to the chest, and Thomas fled into a stand of trees near Ridgewood Park, where a Little League baseball game was taking place.

Officers and a helicopter from the Columbus Division of Police, Franklin County Sheriff deputies, a K9 unit and Blendon officers all tracked Thomas into the woods, where he was found hiding.

The victim was transported to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center in stable condition, and was later released.

Officers and two more K9 units searched all night and into the morning for the weapon used in the shooting, but had not found it as of Tuesday morning.

While Belford and Blendon police handled most of the case, he admitted that the resources of Columbus and Franklin County were crucial.

"We had a lot of assistance on this," he said. "We used a Columbus police helicopter and police deputies helped cut off the woods and search for (Thomas)."

Thomas was transported to the Franklin County jail and charged with felonious assault.

The vehicle was registered to the victim, and while Belford said that drugs were likely involved, he said he could not speculate as to whether the victim may be charged with a crime.

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