Charges filed in viral 'shovel girl' video assault

Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 @ 11:31 AM
Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 @ 11:31 AM


            Josh Officer is the young man who filmed and posted the video that went viral of a girl who was struck in the back of the head with a shovel during a fight with another girl.
Josh Officer is the young man who filmed and posted the video that went viral of a girl who was struck in the back of the head with a shovel during a fight with another girl.

Two girls seen fighting in a viral video some are calling the "Shovel girl video," have been charged with disorderly conduct. The charges were filed in Miami County Juvenile Court Tuesday against both girls since both engaged in fighting.

The video depicts one girl being struck in the head by a shovel during a fight. The video gained national attention last week and the video triggered a Miami County sheriff's investigation.

First, the sheriff's office worked to determine that the video was real and not a hoax, said Maj. Steve Lord of the Miami County Sheriff's office.

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It's real, said Josh Officer, 14, of Tipp City, who recorded the May 4 incident with his cell phone. "It was real fight. People were thinking it was fake and stuff on the Dr. Drew Show. It was completely real. They have been wanting to fight for about a year now."

It all started with a war of words between Miranda Fugate, of Vandalia, and Emily Olinger, of Bethel Twp., over a guy they knew. Fugate and Olinger are 14.

The video shows the two girls fighting in what Officer said was Olinger's yard. Nearly seven minutes into the video, Fugate is seen chasing after Olinger, who is headed for a door to a house. Fugate stops and turns back when she sees that Olinger has a shovel in her hand. Fugate runs and Olinger hurls the shovel, hitting Fugate in the back of the head. Fugate then falls to the ground.

"I told her to leave again, and she refused, so then the first thing I saw was my shovel. I picked it up and then she said, 'OK, OK' and by the time she said she was done, I already hit her with it," Olinger said. "I've been bullied ever since I was in the fourth grade, and that's why I hit her with the shovel because I'm tired of it."

Fugate, who is being referred to online as "Shovel Girl," eventually went to a hospital. She said the hit gave her a concussion, caused her to be deaf in one ear and she may need surgery.

"She was mad because she lost, in my opinion, and grabbed the shovel," Fugate said.

Lord said he viewed the video and called the content alarming.

"When we have these types of videos, we need to explore to make sure that they're authentic and not staged, as far as an investigation," he said, noting that anytime someone posts videos of themselves or others breaking the law, law enforcement officials will have a better chance to find out about the conduct.

A truancy officer in Miami County saw the video on Youtube and reported what he saw to the authorities. This resulted in a Bethel High School administrator reporting the incident to the sheriff's office.

After questioning the parties involved, the sheriff's office pursued charges with the prosecutor's office. "If you start hitting people in the head with a shovel, it can lead to death," said Lord.

Martha Allison, asked for her reaction when she learned her son, Josh Officer, shot the video, said, "I felt like he was just a kid, doing what he does best. I don't think he had any feeling over it. I really haven't talked to him about it. We're just more or less excited about the notoriety and how it's gotten so big."

Officer said, "people are posting fights all the time on my Facebook, and that's why I recorded -- because I just wanted to be like everybody else, post a fight...watch it...get 50 likes or something like that. But it ended up being eighty-two thousand likes and so on, and TMZ and MTV's calling me."

A court date for Fugate and Olinger has not been set.