Thorp says two employees of the center and the suspected gunman were found dead inside the nursing home.
Thorp said authorities believe a fourth body is that of the shooter, but the shooter's motive and identification are not yet known.
The 36 year old called to a report of a man with a gun.
The police chief reportedly had been on the job for just three weeks and had six children. Though 23 of the nursing home's residents were at the facility during the incident, 10TV reported, none were reported injured in the shooting.
The nursing home's residents have been transferred to local hospitals, WOSU reported, and Kirkersville Elementary School was placed on lockdown in response to the shooting.
Responding police found the gunman dead in the nursing home in Kirkersville, a village of about 500 people about 20 miles east of downtown Columbus, authorities said.
Thorp says Pine Kirk Care Center is a secure facility and investigators don't know how the gunman got in.
Homeland Security, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Licking County Sheriff's Office responded to the 200 block of East Main Street in Kirkersville on a report of a shooting.
"They cater to the forgotten members of society - folks that have, in addition to physical health care needs, behavioral health issues", Peter Van Runkle, executive director of the Ohio Health Care Association, a nursing home industry group, told the newspaper. A heavy police presence is still located at the school. Parents should NOT head to the elementary school.
Gov. John Kasich said on Twitter that he was pained by news of the shooting.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., officers said the situation had "been contained".