Police tape is seen outside the entrance of an apartment building in the Bronx borough of New York, Oct. 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

An Ohio police chief and two nursing home employees were killed Friday after a gunman opened fire in Kirkersville. The chief was identified as Steven Eric Disario.

The incident happened at Pine Kirk Care Center, where gunman Thomas Hartless took two passers-by hostage and shot dead 36-year-old Disario. After shooting Disario, Hartless barged into the nursing home and fatally shot his 46-year-old ex-girlfriend Marlina Medrano and Cindy Krantz, 48, a nurse aide, the Columbus Dispatch reported. The hostages were unharmed and police found Hartless dead in the center.

"When the shooter got close to the nursing home, he apparently was in very small woods back there and actually took two passersby as hostage," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. "It was in that vicinity, very close to that, that the chief of police was in fact shot and was killed."

Twenty three residents were in the building when the shooting occurred, but were evacuated. Residents in other nearby houses were directed to remain inside until the situation was under control. Students heading to Kirkersville Elementary School, which is close to the nursing home, were diverted to Watkins Middle School, reports said. The elementary school was placed on lockdown.

Disario reported in his final communication that the suspect was in his sights. He was found unresponsive by deputies who arrived at the scene.

"It's a real hard day for all of us," Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said. "The deputies who pulled him to safety, if you will, are having a real hard time."

Disario was a father of six and a baby "on the way," Thorp said.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich offered his condolences to Disario’s family.

"Ohio mourns the loss of Kirkersville Chief Eric Disario, who died in the line of duty. Join me in praying for his family, friends and colleagues, and for the others injured in this tragedy,” Kasich said.

The suspect Hartless had a lengthy criminal history. In court documents filed a week ago, Medrano said she feared for her life, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I no longer feel that my support can help Tom with his issues,” Medrano wrote in a May 5 petition for a civil protection order, according to the report. “I am afraid to be alone with him, that he will hurt me for good.”

In a December 2016 report, she told police that Hartless “doesn’t like police, has a handgun and threatens that if she ever filed charges on him he would make her pay for it.”

“Thomas has even drove her out SR 79 north past the Wooden Nickel, beat her and then showed her a hole that he dug, advising her that he would put her in it if she did not stay with him,” an officer wrote in the filing. “She stated that he is always threatening that he will hunt her down and kill her if they are not together.”

"We had two cases with him about six or seven years back," Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville told NBC News in a phone interview.

Knox County is located in south of Licking County.

Hartless also spent time behind the bars for domestic violence and criminal damaging/endangering charges. Prior to this, Hartless completed 15 months jail time for aggravated assault and aggravated menacing, NBC News reported. He also fulfilled a three-year stint on probation in 2014, McConville told the news outlet.

"I remember this guy. He wasn't one of our frequent fliers," McConville said. The prosecutor said the abduction case involved Hartless allegedly holding a woman against her will inside a vehicle during county fair week.