Suspect in Columbus library shooting identified, charged

COLUMBUS (WCMH) –Police say one person will be charged in the shooting at the Columbus Metropolitan Library Sunday.

It happened just after 3pm at the main branch on South Grant Avenue. Officers were dispatched to the library on the report of an active shooter inside.

“All I heard was, pow, pow, pow. I mean it was three shots,” said witness Surlaney Posey

Police located the suspect, 28-year-old Joseph Steward, on the second floor and arrested him. A handgun was recovered.

Officers also located the victim, 47-year-old John Thrasher, in the basement. He was transported to Grant Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his ankle.

Police evacuated and searched the library and determined that there were no other victims or suspects.

The shooting had caused many of people inside the library fearing for their lives.

“Through the windows, you can see kind of through the screen, people running toward the door and everybody running in a panic and frantic,” said Taszanea Stowe. “So all of a sudden everyone inside started to panic and run.”

Wayne Crawford said, “I had my earphones on I snatch those off. I heard some gunshots. So I went ahead turned around and ran right with them.”

During an interview with the Steward, he said he fired shots at Thrasher after an argument near an elevator.

He said he chased Thrasher through the second level of the library with his gun out until he was confronted by a security guard. He surrendered his gun.

The library is set to reopen at 1pm on Monday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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