Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
State trooper cleared in fatal shooting
Grand jury declines to return indictment
By Claire Giesige
CELINA - The Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper involved in the Nov. 29 shooting that resulted in the death of Justin D. McHenry, 22, Celina, will not face charges.
A Mercer County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict trooper Brandon M. Chaney. The decision came after the jury had reviewed the facts and circumstances of the incident and considered the testimony of a witness and the evidence, according to a news release issued Monday by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.
The jury found "the actions of Justin D. McHenry towards Trooper Brandon M. Chaney presented the imminent threat of serious physical harm or death toward Trooper Brandon M. Chaney" and concluded the officer was reasonable and justified in his use of deadly force, the release stated.
The shooting occurred on Main Street between the Celina Administration Building and city hall about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 29.
According to reports issued at the time by patrol Lt. Craig Cvetan, Chaney was sitting in his northbound cruiser completing paperwork from a recent drunken driving arrest when McHenry parked his 1991 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck across the street in front of the post office and approached the trooper on foot.
McHenry "immediately became confrontational with the trooper, ordering him out of his vehicle," the patrol release stated.
Shortly after Chaney exited his vehicle, McHenry brandished a 9 mm handgun and pointed it at the officer, according to reports. A scuffle ensued as the trooper unsuccessfully attempted to disarm McHenry, and the trooper broke contact with the man and shots were fired, the release stated. The suspect was struck by rounds from the trooper's handgun, according to the release.
Chaney and nearby Celina police officers who responded to the sound of gunshots provided first aid to McHenry until a squad arrived, officials said. Chaney, a three-year veteran of the Wapakoneta post, was not injured during the incident.
McHenry, a 2012 Coldwater High School graduate, was taken by squad to Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, and later by CareFlight helicopter to St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima, where he died.
In November, Cvetan said patrol investigators were "provided with evidence that McHenry had been consuming alcohol prior to the incident." A full patrol report on the incident has not yet been issued.
As a matter of policy, Chaney was placed on temporary administrative leave after the incident. Lt. Scott Carrico of the Wapakoneta post of the OSHP told the newspaper Chaney had been on leave for about one month after the incident. Chaney was evaluated by a doctor and medically cleared before returning to work, he said.
"That's just protocol," Carrico said. "We do that with everybody involved with a critical incident like that."
Chaney has returned to duty as a road trooper for the Wapakoneta post, which provides road coverage to Auglaize and Mercer counties.