Hancock County Prosecutor Phil Riegle provided the following statement in the aftermath of the Ohio BCI investigation and grand jury review of an incident in September in which Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers fired their weapons at two murder suspects during a pursuit in September.
On September 2, 2023, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and a number of other local law enforcement agencies participated in a high speed pursuit of two individuals wanted in connection to a carjacking and shooting from Michigan beginning in Wood County, Ohio and culminating in Hancock County Ohio. Trooper Huffman and Trooper Born led the pursuit down I75 and onto Ohio 15. During the pursuit which reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, the suspects fired gunshots at troopers from their vehicle, cut off numerous unrelated vehicles nearly causing a number of high speed crashes, and tried to ram or crash Trooper vehicles. This was a very dangerous situation and the lives of many members of the general public as well as Troopers and other law enforcement were put at risk.
When the suspects stopped for a short time at Ohio 15 and Ohio 37 on the exit ramp, Trooper Born used a rifle and fired shots at the vehicle in an effort to end the dangerous situation. The vehicle took off again and was traveling along the ditch along east bound Ohio 15 until it hit a culvert at Township Road 240 and came to a stop. After giving verbal commands to show hands and end the situation, all of which were ignored, Trooper Huffman then fired shots at the vehicle again in an effort to end this extremely dangerous situation and protect the lives of the general public. No additional shots were fired. The suspects were eventually taken into custody and one suspect needed medical attention which he received and has fully recovered.
Ohio BCI-a separate and distinct state agency under the Attorney General- conducted a thorough investigation of the situation viewing/collecting hours of body and dash cam footage, conducting a large number of interviews, and reviewing radio traffic. Ohio BCI submitted that report to the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office for review. Per best practices, the investigation was then submitted to the Hancock County Grand Jury for their review as well. Yesterday, the Hancock County Grand Jury reviewed that BCI investigation and after deliberation declined to request charges against the Troopers.
In a world where law enforcement is under a constant microscope and second guessed regularly, the public usually only receives bad news about law enforcement. This skewed view overlooks the thousands of professional officers who do their jobs and do it well everyday. In this case, Trooper Huffman and Trooper Born acted as heroes. On September 2, 2023 they put their lives on the line in an effort to protect the general public from two suspects who could have caused horrific damage to life and limb of countless others, as well as cause thousands of dollars of damage to property as well. The Troopers used force, but also showed incredible restraint. Trooper Huffman, Trooper Born, and dozens of other law enforcement officers involved in this incident from a number of law enforcement agencies deserve our sincere thanks and are owed a tremendous amount of respect. We thank them for their service. May God bless all our law enforcement officers who risk their lives to protect ours.