breaking news

No charges against trooper in Celina shooting death

Published: Sunday, November 29, 2015 @ 3:55 AM
Updated: Monday, May 02, 2016 @ 3:15 PM

A Mercer County grand jury declined to indicate a state trooper in the shooting death of a Celina man Nov. 29, 2015. The man killed was shot after ordering an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper out of his cruiser and pointing a gun at him. The trooper has since returned to duty.

KEY POINTS

  • Justin McHenry, 22, was shot, killed
  • Trooper Brandon Chaney not indicted
  • Patrol: McHenry pointed gun at trooper
  • Court records: McHenry had prior OVI arrests

UPDATE @ 3:08 p.m. (May 2)

Content Continues Below

A Mercer County grand jury April 28 chose not to indict Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Brandon M. Chaney in the fatal shooting of Justin McHenry last November.

“After considering the testimony of the witness and the evidence presented, the grand jury found and held that the action of Justin D. McHenry towards Trooper Brandon M. Chaney presented the imminent threat of serious physical harm or death toward Trooper Brandon M. Chaney,” reads a press release from Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

UPDATE @ 8:35 a.m. (Dec. 17)

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Trooper Brandon Chaney has returned to his position at the Wapakoneta post following the fatal shooting he was involved in last month.

UPDATE @ 2:12 p.m. (Dec. 2)

NewsCenter 7’s Steve Baker has Trooper Brandon Chaney’s personnel file in hand and will have more starting at 5 p.m. today on WHIO.

Highlights from the trooper’s personnel file include performance evaluations since he started as a trooper Feb. 8, 2013 to present.

In August 2013, Chaney was commended for having demonstrated patience when dealing with violators and the motoring public, according to the file.

But Chaney was told Feb. 20, 2014, that he “does not always analyze or evaluate the situation at hand to come to the best solution.”

Chaney was involved in an injury crash in a cruiser that resulted from him driving too fast and not knowing the geographic area he was responding to, according to the file.

“Trooper Chaney needs to make sure he is aware of the consequences for any bad decision making,” the file reads.

By January 2015, Chaney was commended for establishing himself as a leader at the Wapakoneta post and working toward the goals set by the Wapakoneta post and OSP division.

UPDATE @ 10:41 a.m. (Nov. 30)

Trooper Brandon Chaney is the officer who fatally shot Justin McHenry early Sunday morning, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Chaney, a trooper since Feb. 8, 2013, remains on paid administrative leave.

UPDATE @ 3 p.m. (Nov. 29)

The Celina man who confronted a trooper and pulled a gun on him before he was fatally shot Saturday morning had run-ins with troopers in the past.

Justin McHenry, 22, was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Sept. 7, 2014, Celina Municipal Court records show. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was found guilty. It was his second OVI conviction — he was found guilty in 2012 for drunken driving in a case also involving a trooper, according to records.

Coldwater police arrested McHenry for assault and underage alcohol charges in 2013, and in 2011, a trooper issued him a speeding ticket, according to online court records.

The highway patrol said today that the trooper involved in the fatal shooting had no known prior contact with McHenry, and was not working on any cases that involved him.

UPDATE @ Noon (Nov. 29)

We now know a trooper involved in a fatal shooting this morning in Celina fired his weapon at least four times.

There were four or five bullet holes in the front window of the Celina Fire Station on North Main Street. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the bullets came from the trooper’s gun and that it’s unclear whether the man shot after pointing a gun at the trooper fired any shots.

The fire station was across from where the patrol car was parked when the suspect, 22-year-old Justin McHenry of Celina, allegedly confronted the trooper.

UPDATE @ 11:30 a.m. (Nov. 29)

The scene of the fatal shooting involving a state trooper is clear and Main Street is back open between Market and East Fulton streets. The trooper involved is removed from road patrol pending the investigation, which is policy for officer-involved shootings, the patrol said. The trooper’s name will likely be released in one to two days, according to the patrol.

UPDATE @ 9:45 a.m. (Nov. 29)

A Celina man who was shot early today after pointing a gun at a trooper has died, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The gunshot victim was identified as 22-year-old Justin D. McHenry. The trooper involved in the fatal shooting was not identified.

The trooper said he was inside his patrol cruiser parked on Main Street near Livingston Street around 1:30 a.m. working on paperwork from a previous incident when McHenry parked his 1991 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck across the street and walked to the cruiser, according to the highway patrol. McHenry, who had no contact with the trooper before this incident, became confrontational with the trooper and ordered him out of his patrol car, the patrol said.

After the trooper got out of his cruiser, the trooper said McHenry pulled out a 9mm handgun and pointed it at the trooper, who said he tried to disarm McHenry but was unsuccessful. The trooper broke contact with McHenry and shots were fired. McHenry was stuck by rounds from the troopers handgun, according to the highway patrol.

The trooper, who was not hurt, and officers from the Celina Police Department, who responded after hearing the shots, rendered first aid until medics arrived. McHenry was taken to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and was transferred by medical helicopter to St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, where he succumbed to his injuries, the patrol said.

Main Street between Market and East Fulton streets will remain closed while police process evidence in the ongoing investigation.

The patrol did not say whether McHenry fired any shots at the trooper, and it’s not clear what led McHenry to confront the trooper with a gun.

UPDATE @ 5:24 a.m. (Nov. 29)

The man who was shot was initially transported to Coldwater Hospital before being taken to St. Rita Hospital in Lima via careflight, said Piqua District Highway Patrol Capt. Daniel Springs. North Main Street is closed while officials carry out their investigation.

FIRST REPORT (Nov. 29)

According to a statement, a state trooper from the Wapakoneta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was issuing a citation to a person for OVI at the Celina Police Department at 202 North Main Street Sunday morning.

The trooper was then approached by a person not involved in the citation who displayed a weapon. Shots were fired by both the subject and the trooper, with the subject receiving several gunshot wounds. The state trooper involved was not hit.

The condition of the person shot is being withheld at this time.

Steve Baker is heading to the scene and we will update this page when new information is available.

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