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Store clerk 'very fortunate' he wasn't indicted for shooting, prosecutor says

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 16:52:17-04

HAMILTON, Ohio — The Butler County prosecutor said a Hamilton store clerk was "very fortunate" he wasn't indicted for shooting a man in the back after a fight inside the store, the Journal-News reported.

“I have serious reservations on the self-defense that was utilized. Fortunately nobody got killed," Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said. “Throwing a plastic garbage can at somebody and then running away does not justify getting shot in the back."

In a 911 call on June 17, the clerk at Singletary’s Carry Out on Second Street said he was attacked by a man with a gun. Emergency units responded about 12:55 p.m. and found a wounded man sitting across the street with a non-life-threatening injury.

Gmoser said the evidence indicated the clerk was the only person armed. Hamilton Police Sgt. Richard Burkhardt said “there was some type of fight inside" between two men and "the clerk shot through the window.”

“I want to be clear this should not signal to the general public that it is OK to shoot somebody in the back under these circumstances,” Gmoser said after the grand jury returned no indictments against the clerk.

Gmoser said he instructed his assistant prosecutor to tell the clerk he was "very fortunate" he wasn't indicted.

“He (the clerk) was requested to meet with the Hamilton Police Department officers and my assistant prosecutor to express my serious reservations with the outcome," Gmoser said, "but nevertheless it is the grand jury’s decision, and to inform him that he was very fortunate that the grand jury elected not to indict him under the circumstances of this case.

"That is the system we have,” Gmoser said. “I wanted him to know another grand jury may not have considered it the same way.”

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO 9 On Your Side.