Memorials for Kirkersville shooting victims continue to grow

KIRKERSVILLE, OH (WCMH) — The children of Kirkersville returned to school this morning and their parents returned to work after an emotional few days.

Two makeshift memorials in the center of this tiny Licking County town continue to grow – honoring the lives of two nurses and the town’s police chief who were murdered Friday morning.

Thomas Hartless was apparently hellbent on killing his former girlfriend Marlina Medrano who worked as a nurse at the Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville. Police say Hartless also shot and killed Police Chief Steven Eric DiSario and nurse Cindy Krantz before turning the gun on himself.

Kirkersville resident Aaron Schwartz made sure his 7-year-old got to school safely Monday morning before expressing his frustration about the proliferation of gun violence. “I’m tired of seeing the families suffer,” Schwartz said. “I’m tired of it. I’m sick and tired of it. No family should have to go through this.”

Among those visiting the makeshift memorial at the Kirkersville police station was Sen. Rob Portman who brought a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol to be delivered to the family of Chief Steven Eric DeSario. “I just want to tell them that there’s no way that words can express it but that we owe you such a debt that you were willing to take on that job and in this case put himself in danger to save other lives.”

Kirkersville Mayor Terry Ashcraft says the tragedy has drawn people in this tiny town together offering support to the families of the victims. Ashcraft said in just his first month on the job, DiSario was focused on protecting children and frequently monitored speeds in the town’s school zone. “Just a great guy,” Ashcraft said. “I’ve been doing this a long time and I can honestly say, in the short time he was here – he was the best.”

Aaron Schwartz said Chief DiSario was a hero. “He protected these children even if it was a short period of time,” Schwartz said. “He protected my son at this school and he lost his life for no reason.”

The Kirkersville Police Department only has two part time officers in addition to the chief and one of those officers is on a military leave.

But the Mayor says the town will move on. “We’re going to have a council meeting here in a few days but we are going to have a police department,” Ashcraft said. “It’s a sad thing that happened but you’ve got to go on with life.”

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