Columbus Division of Police officers were at the door of Heather Campbell’s apartment shortly after she was shot to death early Saturday morning by her boyfriend Kyle Lafferty. But it wasn’t until 24 hours later when Campbell’s best friend found the couple lying dead in their apartment Sunday that officers actually entered the apartment.
When Columbus Police were first dispatched to Campbell’s apartment at Taylor House Saturday, they were responding to a neighbor’s 911 call that said she heard “extreme arguing” followed by three gunshots. When police arrived, however, they did not forcibly enter into the apartment.
“On 9/16/17, officers on 17 Precinct did respond to 5001 Olentangy River Road #149 on a report of gunshots, arguing and noises,” a statement from Columbus Police said. “The responding officers did contact the neighbor who had called and the officers attempted to make contact with the residents of unit #149. At the time of the call, responding officers did not have sufficient probable cause to force entry into that location.”
The neighbor, Katrina Beach, called 911 at 2:34 a.m. Saturday.
“Literally just as I was passing the door I was listening outside to decide whether I should call the police and I heard three loud gunshots right after another,” Beach said to the 911 dispatcher.
Officers arrived to the apartment at 2:40 a.m. and left at 3:04 a.m. without entering the unit, according to the police report and call logs.
“An officer’s probable cause is built upon their personal observations and information gathered from others,” the police statement said. “Columbus police officers must have sufficient probable cause to force entry into a home without a warrant. Warrantless entry can be made when officers are taking enforcement action such as an arrest or to render first aid or check on a person’s well-being.”
The 17th Precinct substation is located at 5400 Olentangy River Road, a two-minute drive from Campbell’s apartment, according to Google maps.
Almost exactly 24 hours later, at 2:33 a.m. Sunday, Campbell’s best friend called 911 after finding the couple lying motionless. She told the 911 dispatcher she was able to walk into the apartment because Campbell left her door unlocked “every single day.”
“I haven’t spoken to her since last night and I just walked in and she’s just on the kitchen floor,” her best friend said to the 911 dispatcher.
The officers arrived at the scene at 2:40 a.m. and the two were pronounced dead at 3:16 a.m. They proceeded to leave at 5:53 a.m., according to the police call logs.