BLANCHESTER, Ohio -- Police called it "amorous role playing" gone wrong when a Blanchester man shot his girlfriend in the chest Wednesday night, sending her to the hospital for emergency surgery in the process.
The couple's neighbors -- and state law -- call it a crime. Although police said the man claimed the shooting was accidental, a prior felony conviction for drug trafficking means it was illegal for him to handle a firearm at all.
However, by Thursday night, no charges had yet been filed.
"(Felons) can't have one," criminal defense attorney Mark Krumbein said. "You can't be around or have one at hand, even if you're not the owner of it. If you're there and the gun is present, you can't have one accessible to you."
Neighbor Paul Burns, who learned about the shooting when he heard the whirr of emergency helicopter blades over his home Wednesday night, said residents didn't feel safe knowing the shooter had not been arrested or apparently disciplined at all.
"It's crazy," Burns said. "The citizens deserve to know what's going on. I live 500 feet from this guy, and I want to know what's going on. It's ridiculous."
According to Krumbein, it's unusual for police not to arrest a felon who has discharged a firearm for any reason. Typically, a person who did so would face a third-degree felony charge carrying a potential sentence of up to three years in prison.
"It could be a situation where they're trying to decide what charges to file and perhaps they don't think the person would flee," he said. "If they truly think this is the accidental discharge of a firearm, maybe they're not as concerned."
If they aren't, Burns is. He said he wants the shooter out of the neighborhood as soon as possible.
"It's got the whole town upset," he said. "Biggest concern that everybody has is nobody is getting any answers at all."
Why isn't the shooter's name in this article?
WCPO declined to include the name of the man at the center of this story because no criminal charges have been filed against him in connection to this incident. In the interest of preventing harassment and preserving the integrity of ongoing investigations, it is our general policy not to identify people involved in potential crimes unless they face charges.