Man who fired shots when firefighters entered home won't face charges

Friends requested wellness check
Posted at 10:18 AM, Mar 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 16:31:32-05

CINCINNATI – No charges will be filed against a homeowner who fired shots when firefighters attempted a wellness check at his home Sunday, the prosecutor says.

Prosecutor Joe Deters called it a “misunderstanding.”

 “The homeowner thought that someone was trying to break into this home. No one was injured and the homeowner was completely cooperative with the police and firefighters and explained why he fired the shots,” Deters said Tuesday.

The man fired two shots when firefighters entered his home on Spring Grove Avevue in Northside, police said.

“This man is a Vietnam veteran who served our country and he is also battling a serious illness. Looking at all of the facts and circumstances of this matter, it would not be appropriate to seek any criminal charges,” Deters said.

Friends arrived at the man's home about 9 a.m. to take him to an appointment with the VA, Police Lt. Steve Saunders said. When he didn't answer the door, they grew concerned and called for help.

Saunders said the man, described as a senior citizen, may not have heard firefighters when they arrived and knocked at the door.

Neighbor Mike Brooksbank said he's known the man for 19 years and that the man has had to defend himself form intruders in the past.

"He wouldn't harm a fly unless he absolutely had to," Brooksbank said.

The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 48, a union representing Cincinnati firefighters, said two of the bullet holes were at head level.

"A cowardly act against the men and women that were called to render aid," the union posted on Facebook.

Fire chief Michael Washington said it's a danger that firefighters face frequently. 

"Today was an unfortunate event," Washington said. "Around the country, this situation has occurred in the past with other fire departments. Today was no different. There are inherent dangers any time you are forcing into property."