Columbus SWAT fatally shoots Athens man with rape warrant outside Grove City Home Depot

Columbus police SWAT fatally shot a man wanted on a rape warrant Saturday in the parking lot outside the Home Depot on Stringtown Road in Grove City. A firearm believed to have been in the possession of the suspect was recovered at the scene.

The man who Columbus police SWAT fatally shot Saturday outside the Home Depot store in Grove City was wanted for rape of a minor out of Athens County, law enforcement said Sunday.

The suspect who police fatally shot was Bret Andrews, 46, of Athens, with a warrant out of Athens County for rape of a victim who was under the age of 13, according to Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith, who was briefed on the fatal police shooting. The rape occurred in October 2021, court documents filed in December 2022 allege.

According to Columbus police Sgt. David Scarpitti, the shooting happened shortly after 8:20 p.m. Saturday as SWAT officers were trying to arrest Andrews on the active rape arrest warrant in the parking lot of the Home Depot located at 1680 Stringtown Road.

“During the encounter, officers fired their weapons, striking the male,” Scarpitti said in a release.

The criminal complaint filed in Athens County Municipal Court  notes that Andrews had fled the Athens area when he became aware he was accused of sexual assault and feared he would spend the rest of his life in prison. Andrews formerly lived in the Columbus area, according to court records.

Andrews was transported to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center in downtown Columbus, where he died at 8:53 p.m.

A firearm believed to have been with Andrews was recovered at the scene, Scarpitti said Saturday. He could not say whether the suspect showed the weapon or fired any shots during the encounter. The number of officers who fired their weapons also was not released.

A minivan and a four-door car apparently collided in the parking lot in front of the contractor entrance area of the Home Depot. There were three cones, typically used to preserve evidence on scene, directly in front of the van.

Columbus police SWAT officers are typically involved in arrests involving suspects wanted on warrants who may be considered armed and/or dangerous, as well as to assist other law enforcement agencies in such situations. It was not clear if the suspect in this case was wanted on a warrant from Columbus, Grove City police or another law enforcement agency.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations will investigate the shooting, as it does all shootings involving Columbus police officers where someone is killed or injured.

The officers who fired and camera footage of the shooting are expected to be released in the coming days as the investigation unfolds.

Second Columbus police shooting in less than a week

This is the second shooting involving Columbus police in less than a week.

On Feb. 5, Columbus officer Joshua Ohlinger shot 66-year-old Michael Cleveland following a traffic stop.

Cleveland was running from a vehicle Ohlinger had pulled over on the 1000 block Wilson Avenue on the city’s South Side. Cleveland was injured but survived the shooting.

Body camera footage shows Cleveland told officers he had thrown a firearm while running from officers. He is now charged with having weapons under disability.

Ohio BCI is also investigating that shooting.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Man who Columbus SWAT fatally shot was Athens County rape suspect

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