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New Details About Suspected Gunman Danny Thornton
NORTH COLUMBUS (James Jackson) -- Tonight, we're learning more about Danny Thornton. The suspected gunman was a pro boxer. ABC 6/FOX 28 spoke with people in the boxing community who knew him. They can't believe the person they knew could be capable of something like this.
What happened Friday is hitting some at the Lula Pearl Douglas Rec Center, on Windsor Avenue, in North Columbus, especially hard. Boxing instructor Vonzell Johnson says Danny Thornton trained there about 8 years ago. "I've never seen him angry. Always had a smile. You could see his face light up when he come to the gym."
But, Columbus police saw a different Danny Thornton in the Walmart parking lot, on Morse Road, Friday morning. They shot and killed him, after they say he turned a gun on them. Officer Steven Smith was injured in the shootout. A tragic end to Thornton's suspected shooting spree. Police say he shot 9-year-old Jaiden Dixon twice in the head, then his ex-girlfriend, Vicki Vertin, at a dental office near Eastland Mall. Johnson says he remembers seeing her at the center too. "She would come in and watch him train. Her and his daughter by her I believe and she would come in and watch on a few occasions," Johnson said.
Now on this sad occasion, Johnson is talking with fellow boxers and urging them to speak up, if something troubles them. "Let them know that if you've got any problems. Any thoughts of anything of that kind of nature. Please come talk to me," Johnson said.
ABC 6/FOX 28 also talked to a man, who says he's Thornton's cousin. He didn't want to talk on camera, but he did say he doesn't know why Thornton shot 9 year-old Jaiden.