Attorney: Whether shooting in catalytic converter case is self-defense will rest on facts

HARRISON TWP. — UPDATED @ 10:38 p.m.

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether the shooting of a man accused of trying to steal a catalytic converter Friday afternoon in Harrison Twp. is a self-defense case, a local attorney said Friday night.

“The law of stand your ground applies, the question is whether the facts meet the law,” the attorney, Dennis Lieberman, told News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis.

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According to the preliminary investigation, the suspected thief was shot after attacking the owner of the vehicle, who called 9-1-1 to report that someone was trying to steal his catalytic converter.

Sheriff Rob Streck told News Center 7, “When he [the caller] confronted that individual, he told him to stop, he was going to call police. He had the phone in his hand, was trying to call 9-1-1. He was approached and attacked by the suspect . . . . There was a gunshot where the suspect was shot in the leg.”

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 3100 block of Valerie Arms Drive on the report of the shooting, which was called in about 12:45 p.m.

The shooter is cooperating with the sheriff’s office, Streck said. The person who was shot suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital.

“There will be charges for the person stealing the converter and injured by the gunshot,” the sheriff said.

Lieberman said that if there was a scuffle, the shooter may have been acting in self-defense and that’s where stand your ground becomes important.

“Before stand your ground, if he saw the guy taking his catalytic converter and he went after him, he may not be entitled to self-defense because he would have been able to retreat to avoid his fear of death or bodily harm,” Lieberman said.

Gov. Mike DeWine in 2021 signed the stand your ground bill into law, which no longer required a person to retreat before he or she could justifiably use a firearm to hurt or kill someone in self-defense.

That’s why the sheriff’s investigation is critical in helping the prosecutor’s office determine how to proceed, Lieberman said.

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Streck said the trend of catalytic thefts “won’t stop. It’s not that we are getting an onslaught. The problem is that it really doesn’t slow down. They’ll go buy a power tool and cut off the catalytic converter. Unfortunately, we have companies that claim they don’t know how they got them.”

If laws for such thefts were tightened, he said, these thieves would go to another state.

“That is something that needs to worked on,” the sheriff said about reviewing laws relating to theft.

We will update this developing story as more information is made available.

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