Shots Fired Into Home of Ohio Health Official, Investigation Underway

Police are investigating after shots were fired into the home of an Ohio health official.

Officers responded to a call of shots fired in the 1700 block of Berkshire Road in Upper Arlington, a city on the northwest side of the Columbus metropolitan area, at around 8 p.m. on Saturday.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the incident occurred at a home belonging to Dr. Mary Kate Francis, the assistant medical director of the Ohio Department of Health.

No-one was injured in the incident, police said, and no suspects were at the scene when officers arrived.

An investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released, according to a City of Upper Arlington crime alert. Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to come forward.

The Ohio Department of Health has been contacted for comment.

According to The Dispatch, Francis has mostly remained behind the scenes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her supervisor, medical director Bruce Vanderhoff, makes regular appearances on television during Gov. Mike DeWine's coronavirus news briefings. Dr. Amy Acton, the department's former director, also performed this role.

Police have not revealed any details about a motive for Saturday night's shooting. However, health officials in Ohio and across the country have faced threats during the pandemic.

The Dispatch reported that Acton was the target of threats and anti-Semitic slurs before she resigned from her position in June last year.

Armed protesters, who blamed her for stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, had also gathered outside her home in a suburb of Columbus.

In September, DeWine announced Dr. Joan Duwve, then the state public health director in South Carolina, as Acton's replacement. But a few hours later, DeWine said she had withdrawn her name from consideration.

In a statement to The State newspaper, Duwve explained that she decided to not take the job after learning of the harassment Acton had experienced in the role.

"In conversations preparing for the transition to the Ohio Department of Health, I was informed that the former director's family had faced harassment from the public," Duwve said in a statement.

"While I have dedicated my life to improving public health, my first commitment is to my family. I am a public figure. My family is off-limits."

People protest coronavirus lockdown in Ohio
People listen to speakers while holding protest signs and patriotic flags during the "Save Ohios Restaurants and Bars: We Cant Afford Another Shutdown" protest against Covid-19 restrictions in Ohio, November 19, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. Stephen Zenner/AFP via Getty Images