BEAVERCREEK TWP. — Football practice at a Beavercreek middle school was interrupted and players ran for safety in a school building after hearing gunshots fired at a nearby property Monday night.
Coaches for the seventh grade football team at Jacob Coy Middle School in Beavercreek Twp. called 911 Monday around 7:30 p.m. after hearing multiple gunshots fired from a property that’s near the school’s football field on Dayton Xenia Road and Ankeney Road.
“There’s gunshots coming across the practice field and behind Coy (Middle School). They’re coming across the actual, like bullets are coming across,” a caller said in the 911 call obtained in a News Center 7 public records request.
“There’s somebody, like a farm behind the field and that’s where the bullets were coming from.”
The caller reported no one was hit, but that several gunshots were heard from the wooded area near the practice field.
“No one is injured right now, no, thank the Lord,” the caller said.
Beavercreek City Schools Superintendent Paul Otten praised the coaches who moved the students off the field quickly and to a nearby structure away from the gunfire.
“Our coaches reacted perfectly, moved our kids off-site, contacted the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and they did an outstanding job showing up and really kind of addressing the situation.”
“So like everybody, really did what we needed to do protect our kids,” Otten said.
Otten added he was grateful students were safe, but that his mind went directly to the worst-case scenario when he received news of the incident.
“First thing, you always think the worst. First thing when you hear that is someone trying to shoot at our kids, is this a school shooting? The good thing was (the person who) was communicating to me about the incident was very clear that this was out in the open, this was in the distance, appeared to be in a neighbor’s backyard. No one was concerned about trying to target a student or a player out there,” Otten told News Center 7′s Haley Kosik.
John Huntz of Beavercreek Twp. lives at the home where the shots were fired. Huntz told News Center 7 he had recently moved into the house and often shoots in a pond in his backyard that the previous owners dug-out but never filled with water.
Huntz said he was surprised when deputies were at his door Monday after he was shooting.
“I was a little bit taken aback you know because we’ve been out there before and no issues I talked to all my neighbors they’re okay with it. And we’re just like, a little surprised,” he said.
Huntz said he heard someone yell for him to stop shooting.
“I could hear someone from far away ‘hey, stop shooting.’ I went like, ‘where is that coming from?’ I went and talked to all my neighbors yesterday and they said ‘it wasn’t us,’” Huntz said.
Huntz added he talked to a sheriff’s deputy that told him he was allowed to shoot on his property.
Greene County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Kelly Edwards confirmed to News Center 7 Wednesday deputies were continuing to investigate the incident and it was still an active investigation. Edwards declined to comment if the shots fired on private property were in violation of either Beavercreek Twp. ordinances or state laws.
“The Greene County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate this matter to determine whether there was any wrongdoing specific to ORC 2923.162 Discharge of firearm on or near prohibited premises, or any other statute. Upon conclusion, the matter may be presented to the appropriate prosecutor to determine whether charges are appropriate,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said in a separate media release issued Wednesday.
The Ohio Revised Code states shooting a gun near a school is a crime and a person could be charged with discharging a firearm on or near a prohibited premise. However, the ORC section states it doesn’t apply to a person who is on their own property when they shoot the gun.
For school leaders, Otten said Monday’s incident is a reminder for the district to continue to work with neighbors of their buildings to continue to promote safety of all students.
“In the township you’re allowed to take targets, shots, you’re allowed to practice using your gun out there. So we recognize that. We do have a school there. We know our neighbors know we’re right there. We have great neighbors around us and, we look at this as an unfortunate situation, but maybe it was fortunate that we at least acknowledged it and we can prepare for something like this in the future,” Otten said.
We’ll continue to update this story as we learn more.
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