Police-involved shooting of man they say robbed a decoy officer at gunpoint
The Critical Incident Response Team is still investigating a police involved shooting that happened Wednesday on Duvall Lane at 7:55 p.m.
The officer involved is identified as Officer Robert Vass, a 25 year veteran of the force who is assigned to SWAT.
The suspect Kyler Collier, 18 remains hospitalized. Collier faces aggravated robbery charges and others may be forthcoming, according to police.
SWAT officers were conducting an operation in response to reports of robberies of people who had used various social media sites to sell or buy items. A SWAT officer posing as a potential buyer met the suspect to finalize the exchange of the item for cash. Police said the suspect pointed the gun at the dock officer and robbed him. According to investigators, one of the cover officers fired at Collier striking him. No officers were hurt. A gun was recovered at the scene.
A woman who lives near where the exchange took place said a stray bullet went inside her apartment.
“The bullet came through our window in the back, and they have it taped up. Went through our curtain. Came through the back of the couch and through the back of the couch cushion,” said Lexi Bostic.
Lexi and her husband and one-year-old son were not at the townhouse when the shots were fired during the sting operation.
“This area is not a bad area. So it is just crazy to think that something like this happened. It happened to us. You never think someone would do something like that for no reason.”
Keith Ferrell, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital Lodge said officers put themselves at risk so the public doesn’t have to.
“Most of the people doing these transactions are good, honest hardworking people just trying to do some business. Order a pizza whatever in these situations. But there are people out there that want to do harm to folks, and we will do everything we can to stop that,” Ferrell said.
“We are doing the best we can trying to monitor places where we see patterns or have concerns of these things happening, and we will do our best to put ourselves in those positions and take the public out of them to stop those things from happening,” said Ferrell.
Lexi said she uses social media to buy and sell things. Ironically the couch the bullet went though was purchased on Craig’s List. Both police and Lexi have a warning for people using the sites.
“Unfortunately this time of year, the holidays, it brings out these robberies and so people need to be very cautious. All the time but certainly this time of year,” said Ferrell.
“I do follow a lot of safety rules. Like I either have my husband or my mom go with me. I always meet in public places.I think that is the most important thing. You have to be careful. You have to be, well I don’t think I will be buying like that for a little while,” Lexi said.
There are five designated internet purchase exchange zones in Columbus and many suburbs have them. They are in well-lit lots under video surveillance.