DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — The 19-year-old who spurred a seven-hour manhunt Thursday night in Warren County shot his own father and left a sheriff’s deputy hospitalized before he was finally arrested.
When Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Katie Barnes responded to a domestic disturbance call at the Orchards of Landen apartment complex Thursday night, she arrived alone.
Earlier in the evening, her department had received a call from a man terrified that his brother, Mohammed Abdou Laghaoui, was going to kill him. Laghaoui threatened to do just that to both his brother and father, and the situation turned violent when Laghaoui punched a family member in the face and left their apartment in a rage.
"The initial implication was that [his family] wanted to file criminal charges," said Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims Friday morning in a press conference. "They wanted him out, and they were fearful."
Neither the Laghaoui family nor Barnes knew Mohammed was armed with a semi-automatic weapon until the moment he opened fire: first on his father through the closed apartment door, then on a neighbor who witnessed the altercation — and then on Barnes.
Barnes had never used her gun in the line of duty before that night. She fired four shots at Laghoui and radioed for help as she retreated to cover. Amid the sound of gunshots in the complex and voices on her radio, she did not notice that she had already been hit by one of Laghoui’s rounds.
The bullet struck her gun belt and grazed her lower abdomen, tearing away at the skin. If the belt had not been in the way of the bullet, the situation could have been dire.
“There is a lot of luck that went into this,” Sims said. “Most of us have an understanding of what would happen if it hit her head-on.”
Laghoui fled while Barnes called for help, forcing local authorities to engage in a seven-hour manhunt involving helicopters and K-9 units as they searched for his whereabouts. Residents of the area were ordered to shelter in place.
The shelter-in-place order lasted until just before 5 a.m. Friday, when the sheriff's office said Laghaoui returned to the apartment at the Orchards of Landen complex where deputies were waiting for him. He told them he had thrown his weapon in a nearby lake and surrendered himself into custody.
Barnes, Laghaoui's father and the neighbor who was shot have all received medical care since the incident and are expected to recover from their injuries.
"We will do everything in our power to make sure that [Deputy Barnes] is restored and that she can come back to work," Sims said.
Laghaoui was booked into the Warren County Jail at 6:59 a.m. Friday and charged with two counts of felonious assault, one count of attempted aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder. He will be arraigned in court at 9 a.m. June 13.
This shooting is all the more unusual considering Warren County's violent crime rate, which is exponentially lower than the statewide and national rates shown in the graphic below.
NOTE: WCPO initially reported Laghaoui's charges as murder and aggravated murder based on information obtained from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. They later corrected their mistake.
WCPO web editors Pat LaFleur and Austin Fast; reporters Ashley Zilka, Jay Warren, Kristen Swilley, and T.J. Parker; and photographer Andy Overton contributed to this report.