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Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 11:53 AM
BUTLER COUNTY — Since January, 12 law enforcement officer across the county have been shot and killed, including two veteran officers killed in Westerville on Saturday while they responded to an apparent domestic situation.
The events brought back chilling memories for officers in Butler County, where two shootings have occurred in recent history.
Both law enforcement officers who were shot survived.
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Thursday marked the fourth anniversary of the shooting of Hamilton Police Officer Chad Stafford on a freezing Saturday morning.
Stafford responded just after 7 a.m. on Feb. 15, 2014, to a report of an armed man firing shots into the air in a quiet neighborhood. Stafford spotted the suspect, identified as Brandon Keeler, walking along the 1100 block of Sipple Avenue.
When Stafford got out of his car, Keeler shot at him. Stafford ducked behind a car, but the bullet grazed his head. Wounded, the firearms instructor and 16-year veteran of the Hamilton Police Department returned fire, striking Keeler dead with multiple gunshots.
Keeler, who left notes indicating he wanted to die at the hands of police, was shooting a civilian version of an AK-47 rifle and had plenty of ammunition.
Stafford fully recovered and returned to work on March 20, 2014. He is still patrolling the streets of the city.
In May 2014, Stafford was presented with a Medal of Valor, a supreme degree of recognition for selfless bravery during extreme conditions.
After that presentation, Stafford told this news outlet that it was wonderful to be back to work.
On that morning, Stafford said he was not alarmed by a shots fired call and really not too alarmed when he got out of his vehicle to face the armed man.
“It was another Saturday morning. I thought, I am going to tell him to put down the gun and he is going to, but he didn’t,” Stafford said.
He said he remembers returning fire and “I watched him lay down in the snow. I continued to cover him until the other officers arrived.”
Hamilton Public Safety Director Scott Scrimizzi, who was police chief in February 2014, said officer shootings do bring back that horrible call he received on Feb. 15, 2014.
“I was convinced that Chad was killed,” Scrimizzi said. He was driving his daughter to swim practice that day when he got a call from dispatch that Stafford had been shot in the head. “I will never forget 7:04, that is when my phone went off.”
“I pulled up convinced that he was dead,” Scrimizzi said. “They had the tape up … I see that we have a crime scene set up and there is a body there and I am convinced it is Chad.”
A supervisor, who didn’t recognize the chief at first, soon told him Stafford was a alive and being treated.
“That is when we transition to immediately, we have got to get to his family,” Scrimizzi said. He wanted to make sure Stafford’s wife and two children did not find out about his shooting from the media or social media.
Scrimizzi added Stafford “clearly had an angel sitting on his shoulder that day.”
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On March 20, 2005, Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Roberts was shot just outside the Village of Seven Mile while trying to apprehend to suspects on a crime spree.
Two Hamilton men, Mark Kendrick Jr., and Robert Morris, first attempted to rob a bank in College Corner, Ind., with sawed-off shotguns — they found the bank doors closed — before driving to Camden and robbing a BP station.
Camden Police Chief Mike Croucher began following the two men in his private vehicle. A short time after Croucher began his chase, the two suspects pulled into the Lazy Dog drive-through on Ohio 127 in Milford Township and attempted to disfigure their license plate.
Roberts then approached the suspect vehicle and stuck his weapon inside the front window. One of the men rose up from the car’s back seat and shot Roberts. The bullet went just under his vest and into his stomach.
The two men then stole the police cruiser and the officer’s gun and traveled south on Eaton Road. Later, with deputies in pursuit, they crashed the cruiser into a culvert about four miles from the Lazy Dog.
Kendrick and Morris fled into a creek area, where one suspect was found, hurt, a short time later. He was transported to an area hospital and the second suspect taken into custody by deputies.
“Just talking about it sends chills down my spine,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.
He said he was in his office in Hamilton and responded with lights and sirens.
“Seems like it took forever to get there,” Jones said. “They were loading him on CareFlight when I got there. We really didn’t know if he would live.”
Roberts said he thought he was dying, Jones said.
“They left him for dead in the dirt, took his gun and told him they would shoot him if he moved,” the sheriff said.
Roberts did recover and returned to the department. he later retired.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 8:42 AM
A former Dayton-area U.S. Postal Service worker is alleged to have participated in 35 motorcycle races during an 18-month period in which he was disabled or on light duty, according to federal court documents.
Jerry French was indicted last week in Dayton’s U.S. District Court on counts of making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to medical personnel and the postal service which led to Office of Workers’ Compensation Benefits of $93,971.42.
French is at least the eighth area postal worker to be alleged of federal crimes in the past few years.
Former West Carrollton postal worker Laticha Schroyer had pleaded guilty in a case where she was seen vacationing while injured, but she recently asked to withdraw her plea by bill of information.
No defense attorney is listed for French in federal court documents, and no dates have been scheduled in the case.
An indictment filed March 15 detailed how French allegedly injured his knee while falling on ice when he was delivering mail on Feb. 2, 2011.
French filled out a claim for disability pay and was off from work for a year until returning to one hour of limited duty per day, the indictment said.
The Department of Labor accepted French’s injury as a sprained knee in April 2011, according to court documents.
The indictment said French allegedly told two doctors that he could not perform most work duties, that his pain level was 8 out of 10 and that he was in pain 24/7.
A doctor amended his report to say an MRI indicated a meniscus tear and the Department of Labor approved an arthroscopic surgery, the indictment said.
The indictment said that in October 2011, another doctor performed the surgery and later submitted a report showing there was no meniscus tear and that the knee was normal.
On Dec. 1, 2011, French completed a medical history form at Kettering Medical Center in which he stated he had extreme difficulty doing tasks such as usual work, housework, hobbies, recreational and sporting activities, the indictment said.
French said, according to the document, that he had “moderate difficulty” doing activities including putting on socks, doling light activities, getting in and out of vehicles and sitting for one hour.
The indictment said in March 2012, a doctor reported French’s pain representations were out of proportion to the pathology.
In July 2012, French told a third doctor that he could no longer ride motorcycles because of his knee injury, according to the indictment.
The document said in September 2013, a Department of Labor form he submitted limited him to zero hours for lifting weight, walking, climbing, kneeling, bending, stooping and operating machinery.
In October 2013, French was interviewed by special agents from the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, the document said.
During that interview, French said he was physically unable to work, go up and down stairs, kneel, ride or race his motorcycles, pass a National Hot Rod Association physical, fill his nitrous oxide tank, drive a manual car or put pressure on his left leg.
The indictment said that from May 13, 2011, to Oct. 23, 2013, agents of the Inspector General observed French “participating in approximately thirty-five motorcycle races and one car race at various racetracks in Ohio and Indiana.”
The document also said agents saw French loading trailers, carrying equipment and moving metal tanks.
The indictment doesn’t explain why it was filed several years after the events and federal prosecutors didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 6:37 PM
TROY — A Michigan man who led state troopers on a 55-mile chase from Piqua to Allen County in November was sentenced Monday in Miami County Common Pleas Court to 30 months in prison.
David Nehmer, 27, of Paw Paw, Michigan, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and six months in jail for driving while under the influence. The sentences will be served concurrently in the penitentiary. Nehmer’s driver’s license was also suspended for five years.
Nehmer was arrested in the early morning hours on Interstate 75 near Bluffton. The pursuit began in Piqua after troopers received a report of a vehicle driving on its rims.
The pursuit of Nehmer — wanted on warrants out of Michigan — included speeds of more than 120 mph, troopers said.
Janna Parker, an assistant county prosecutor, said Nehmer was on parole in Michigan at the time of the chase that included what she called “insanely fast speeds” on tire rims. She said Nehmer put not only himself but multiple police officers and countless motorists at risk.
Judge Christopher Gee sentenced Nehmer, calling the pursuit “a horrific and very dangerous chase.” Gee said Nehmer was fortunate no one, including him, was injured.
“This kind of behavior cannot be condoned in any way,” Gee said.
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Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:57 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 6:30 PM
CLARK COUNTY, Ohio — The Clark County Sheriff’s Office says a woman’s 3-month-old daughter who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1984 was buried in the wrong grave at a family plot in Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in Bethel Twp.
Connie Rosellen told News Center 7 she discovered the mistake after the death of her stepfather. During his burial, cemetery officials reportedly struck her daughter’s casket and broke it.
Rosellen said she called deputies last week after arriving at the cemetery for her daughter’s disinterment and reburial and allegedly found the baby’s remains in what she described as a shallow grave, covered only by the blanket she was buried with, a tarp and and a plywood board.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office says multiple deputies responded to the cemetery but they didn’t open a criminal case. According to their initial investigation, the cemetery followed all legal procedures.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 11:58 AM
— A wrongful death civil lawsuit has been filed in the October Moraine police officer-involved fatal shooting of a Dayton man.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court by the estate of Jamarco McShann alleges a conspiracy and misconduct involving several Moraine police officers.
“Defendant Officers John Howard, Jerry Knight, Michael Cornely, Justin Eller, Brian O’Neal, and unnamed officers willfully and maliciously shot Jamarco Dewayne McShann to death, and/or failed to intervene to prevent the use of deadly force against him despite the duty and the opportunity to do so,” the lawsuit states.
On Wednesday, the attorneys that filed the suit had a press conference that included other community activists and mothers of other Ohio men who have been shot and killed by police.
“Jamarco McShann’s rights were violated,” said attorney Andrew Stroth, who filed the lawsuit. “He was unjustifiably shot and killed. There was no provocation. There was no threat of danger. The officers shot and killed him through the back of his vehicle. And the lawsuit outlines the allegations.”
Rev. Jerome McCorry, president and CEO of the National Congress on Faith & Social Justice, said: "We will fight for justice until justice is done.” Attorneys for the family also said it was “unacceptable” that the officers who fired their guns were back on full duty.
“The City of Moraine does not comment on pending litigation,” read a statement made Wednesday by Moraine law director Buzz Portune, “but is satisfied that all actions taken by its Division of Police and officers involved in the matter were fully compliant with all applicable law enforcement standards and appropriate under the circumstances.”
“The defendant officers otherwise acted both willfully, wantonly, recklessly, negligently, intentionally, and with malice and willful indifference in committing the acts alleged in this complaint, which resulted in the wrongful death of Jamarco McShann,” according to the suit.
The 23-year-old McShann, died from “multiple shotgun and gunshot wounds” after a confrontation with Moraine officers John Howard and Jerry Knight in the early-morning hours of Oct. 20, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation oversaw a probe into the matter at the request of the Moraine Police Division. That has been forwarded to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.