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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

St. Marys officer cleared in shooting

Cop shot man in the hand after he waved pellet gun

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. MARYS - The police officer who shot a drunk and armed St. Marys man last month has been exonerated by a local review board.
St. Marys Police Officer Luke Turpin was cleared for firing a single shot that struck suspect Brad Scheer in the wrist/hand area on March 13. The 62-year-old man, who had waved a pellet rifle at officers in front of his Derrick Street home, was treated at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, St. Marys. He later was jailed for aggravated menacing.
The report showed Scheer did not fire his weapon at officers.
Turpin and Auglaize County Sheriff's Deputy Tyler Price - who fired three shots at Scheer during the confrontation - were placed on nondisciplinary administrative leave following the incident; both have returned to active duty.
The special review board - consisting of the city's director of public service and safety, a local citizen and other area officials - reviewed the incident report and cleared Turpin of any wrongdoing, St. Marys Police Chief Tim Eberle said.
"They found nothing wrong with his actions," he said. "He acted within our policy."
The deadly force policy used by St. Marys Police instructs officers in such situations to "shoot to stop the threat," Eberle said, adding the suspect in this case was lucky to receive only a minor injury.
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon was not available for questions relating to Price's exoneration. The trio of shots fired by Price struck the side of the house and a nearby bug light, Eberle said.
The shooting incident also was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation, which has not yet completed its report. Eberle said the case has not been presented to a grand jury. The decision to submit a case to a grand jury rests with the county prosecutor.
According to a joint report from the police and sheriff's office, Scheer called 911 about 10 p.m. from his home at 601 Derrick Street and stated "I'm going to shoot the first cop (that) comes over here. Don't you understand (expletive) English?"
Scheer told the 911 dispatcher he was upset because haulers had not picked up the trash he had thrown out into the street. When the officers arrived at the scene, Scheer exited his home, waving a pellet rifle at them, the report said.
Scheer - who has a lengthy criminal record of misdemeanors, many involving alcohol - last week was sentenced to 180 days in jail for his actions.
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