Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Armed man killed by cop
Suspect visited gun shop prior to shooting
By Daily Standard Staff
Law enforcement officers with the Celina Police Department and the Mercer County. . .
By SHELLEY GRIESHOP
and WILLIAM KINCAID
CELINA - A shirtless man armed with a handgun was fatally shot by a Celina police officer along a busy city street Wednesday afternoon.
Robert Hensley, 39, 1107 Mott St., St. Marys, was shot about 12:45 p.m. near a garage in the parking lot of Lake Shore Motor Sales, a car dealership along East Market Street. He was taken by squad to Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, where he died.
Hensley, who has a criminal record in Auglaize County including disorderly conduct, was shot by Celina Patrolman Andy Regedanz, 33, who recently returned to the police force after having been placed on leave for unusual behavior.
Regedanz was not injured in Wednesday's incident and immediately radioed for medical help.
"Send a squad. Send a squad," he shouted to the dispatcher in a call captured on the police scanner.
The 12-year veteran officer has been placed on nondisciplinary administrative leave, in accordance with policy for officer-involved shootings. It was the first time Regedanz shot anyone, Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said this morning.
Grey, whose department is handling the case per request of Celina Assistant Police Chief Calvin Freeman, said he didn't know yet if Hensley pointed the gun or fired any shots at the officer or anyone else, or how many bullets struck the suspect.
"Shots were fired. The suspect was hit," Grey stated in a press release.
An autopsy is scheduled for today.
Grey confirmed that prior to the shooting, Hensley was at Kremer's Gun on West Livingston Street, several blocks from where the shooting took place. Gun shop store manager Chris Weaver this morning recalled Hensley in the store Wednesday.
"He was just like any other customer, nothing out of the ordinary, Weaver said about Hensley's demeanor.
When asked if Hensley was a regular customer at the shop, Weaver said "I've never seen him before in my life."
Grey said Hensley's disabled Jeep was found at the gun shop after the shooting and it was impounded by officers. He is in the process of seeking a warrant to search the vehicle.
Celina resident Bill Ballard witnessed events leading up to the shooting. He called 911 at 12:38 p.m. after seeing a man pull out a pistol while standing near the four-way stop at Livingston Street and Grand Lake Road.
"I saw him at the stop sign by McDonald's. He pulled a pistol out of his pocket, spun it around and started waving it around, not pointing it at anybody, then put it back in his pocket," he told the newspaper within minutes of the shooting.
The 911 dispatcher contacted Celina Police who sent an officer to investigate, according to Grey's press release.
Ballard, who was in his vehicle at the time, told the dispatcher he wasn't sure if the gun was real. He said the suspect, who was on foot, wore black shorts, no shirt, sandals and a cowboy hat.
After alerting authorities, Ballard said he decided to follow the suspect who was heading into a residential area near Leblond Street. About the same time another caller also dialed 911 to report the suspicious-looking man on Livingston Street "with a pistol tucked in his shorts."
Ballard told The Daily Standard the armed man continued walking toward East Market Street where he headed west on the north sidewalk.
"I drove past him again," he said, adding he dialed 911 a second time to update officers on the man's location.
As he turned around at a gas station near Lake Shore Drive, a Celina police cruiser sped by and stopped near the auto dealership, Ballard said.
"I saw an officer jump out and run after him. The next thing they were loading him (the suspect) up in the ambulance," he said.
A gun and pool of blood were visible on the dark pavement of the car lot as dozens of law enforcement officers walked the crime scene. Yellow tape stretched from the east side of the dealership, across Vine Street - a dead-end road - to the west side of First Baptist Church.
Officials with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification arrived within hours of the shooting to process the crime scene and the body, at Grey's request.
Heavy traffic moved slowly past the area for most of the afternoon. Several drivers rolled down their windows to ask bystanders what had happened.
"I don't think Celina Police Department's ever had a police-involved shooting," Freeman said.
"I guess we're becoming a big city now," said a man standing on the sidewalk, who learned about the shooting while stopping to eat at a nearby restaurant.
Freeman on Wednesday said his department turned the case over to the sheriff's department because it involves one of their own.
"We're trying to stay independent because we have one of our officers involved in the incident, and we want to make sure that it's fully independent so it can be determined that there was no biases one way or the other so we want to do it and do it correctly," he said.
Regedanz will be offered the opportunity to come back to work Monday for desk duty as the investigation continues, Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said this morning.
Regedanz' personnel file shows he was placed on paid administrative leave for unusual behavior in late January.
"It has been determined that reasonable suspicion exists to require you to take a psychological evaluation in accordance with the Section 26.8 of the police labor agreement," safety service director Tom Hitchcock wrote in a letter to Regedanz on Jan. 23. "In order to preserve the safety of residents, your co-workers and yourself, you were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the psychological evaluation and outcome of the investigation."
Regedanz was cited for failure of good behavior and neglect of duty. He waved his right to a hearing and was suspended without pay on Feb. 21, 22 and 25.
The failure of good behavior citation involved Regedanz allegedly harassing people connected to his estranged wife.
The suspension also listed another incident involving mishandling evidence.
"In November 2012, you failed to properly log into evidence medication involved in a domestic violence case and instead put the medication (a typical brown prescription bottle) in your office drawer in the police department room," the document says. "You have admitted during your investigative interview that was 'not the best practice in the world,' and that 'you used bad judgment when you didn't log the medication into evidence.' You indicated that you just 'got busy,' and the normal case would be to log the medication into evidence."
The suspension sheet described Regedanz's violations as disregarding job duties and neglecting work; threatening, intimidating or coercing subordinates, other employees or general public; and willful disregard of the employer's rules, regulations, policies and procedures.
Charges filed against Robert Hensley in Auglaize County Municipal Court
• 2013: speeding, seat belt
• 2006: disorderly conduct
• 2001: insufficient life jackets, seat belt
• 1997: drunken driving, left of center, seat belt
• 1995: disorderly conduct (twice), failure to register vehicle, drunken driving
1994: consuming alcohol in motor vehicle