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Authorities seek killer of special-duty officer



Published: Fri, January 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The unidentified robber is believed to have been wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

COLUMBUS (AP) -- Police paused Friday to salute an officer killed while on special duty as they searched for the man who shot him.

Dozens of squad cars lined the center lane of the busiest downtown street in front of the Statehouse, lights and sirens running as the officers stood in a line and saluted for about a minute in honor of Bryan Hurst, 33.

Hurst was killed on Thursday when he was shot while working off duty as a guard at a bank. Franklin County Coroner Brad Lewis said Hurst had been shot once in the chest, above his bulletproof vest.

Trail of blood

Police, believing the robber was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the officer, checked hospitals and clinics to see if the robber might have sought treatment.

Police followed a trail of blood believed to have been left by the gunman as he ran away to a nearby apartment complex, but a search Thursday turned up nothing.

Police spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio would not confirm if investigators would try to match the blood against a national DNA database, but said, "We are looking at every piece of evidence that we can to try to determine who he is."

Sgt. Brent Mull, a police spokesman, said Hurst had just seconds to react after the robber entered the bank with a pistol drawn Thursday and ordered everybody to get down on the floor. Then he spotted Hurst and shot the officer, who returned fire, Mull said.

Hurst, a suburban Westerville resident, joined the police department in November 1996. He had begun working 15 to 20 hours of special-duty jobs to help make ends meet for his wife and their 6-month-old daughter, Malia.




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