Suspect leads police on pursuit, exchanges gunfire
In the early morning hours of December 5th, police officers from the Wooster police department became involved in a motor vehicle pursuit with James “Bubba” Schmidt. The pursuit began at the Walmart in Wooster and continued through Orrville.
The suspect fired shots at law enforcement officers during the pursuit. He abandoned the vehicle after crashing just south of Orrville and stole a vehicle from a nearby residence. The vehicle was later found burned in southern Ohio.
Schmidt made it to West Virginia before the U.S. Marshall’s office captured him. He remains in custody facing several criminal charges.
Although the main topic of this story involved the response of the various law enforcement officers, it should be noted that dispatchers from Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Patrol and the WARCOG regional dispatch center worked together throughout the incident to share information among the responding agencies.
In addition, several of the involved agencies, (Wooster PD, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Smithville PD and Orrville PD) recently began using the MARCS radio system. This enabled all of the agencies to be able to clearly and easily communicate with each other in this very dangerous event. Prior to the migration to this statewide digital radio system, communication between agencies in incidents like this would have been very difficult. Furthermore, when law enforcement personnel were on foot using portable radios in the past, it would have been almost impossible to hear each other on the old system.