Friday, April 19, 2013

Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Concluded by Mercer County Sheriff's Office

Celina, OH – Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey announced today that the Sheriff’s Office investigation into the officer involved shooting in Celina has been completed. A Press Conference was held at 9:00 AM this morning to announce the facts of the investigation.

First, in order to clarify a mistake by the Celina Daily Standard, Sheriff Grey announced that the investigation was never classified as a murder as stated in the headlines on April 16. The Sheriff’s Office never stated it was a murder. A murder implies death was due to a crime while a homicide is a death of a person caused by another person. A homicide does not necessarily have criminal implications.

While the Celina Daily Standard printed the lead story on the front page headline, “Shooting Classified as Murder,” the correction was hidden on page 2 the following day. “In my opinion, that was unfair,” stated Sheriff Grey, “I want to set the record straight. Law enforcement and the public deserve better from a news organization.”

The investigation consisted of interviews of 33 people, including 5 who actually witnessed the shooting. This investigation took 9 days to complete and provided the Sheriff’s Office with information that Officer Regedanz didn’t have the benefit of knowing. He had a split second to make a decision.

The investigation traced Robert Hensley from the time he got up at 7:30 that morning until his death at 12:46 PM. Hensley was reportedly twirling a firearm as he was walking down the street shirtless, in shorts, and a cowboy hat. A concerned citizen had called 9-1-1 twice to report his actions and whereabouts.

When Officer Regedanz located him and ordered him to put his hands where he could see them, Hensley turned aggressively with the firearm in his left hand towards Regedanz. Regedanz fired two shots. One shot struck Hensley in the left arm between his elbow and his shoulder; the other shot struck Hensley near his left shoulder blade and exited through right front side of his torso. The location and angle of the shots and location of Hensley’s firearm on the ground are consistent with Regedanz statement and the statements of the citizen witnesses.

Hensley’s firearm was a .22 caliber revolver. In the cylinder were two rounds that had been fired, the remaining four chambers were empty. The two rounds were not fired during the encounter with Regedanz and it is unknown when or where they were fired, although Hensley had spent time at the indoor firing range at Kremer’s Guns that morning.

The firearm was purchased by Hensley on March 18 at Big Buck’s. There is nothing in Hensley’s record that prohibits him from owning, possessing, or purchasing a firearm.

Hensley’s family reported that he had been having some difficulty lately. He had been hearing voices. Some members of his family had considered asking police to intervene so Hensley could get some help for his state of mind.

“While my sympathy goes out to the Hensley family for the loss of Robert, it is my conclusion that Officer Regedanz fired to protect himself and the citizens who were near Hensley at the time,” stated Sheriff Grey. “Regedanz has the right to protect himself, but he also has a duty to protect the public, which is what he was doing.”

The Sheriff’s Office will now turn the investigation over to the Prosecutor’s Office for review with a request that the Grand Jury review the case. “The request for a Grand Jury review does not imply there is a violation of the law, but I believe it is the right thing to do,” said Sheriff Grey, “but ultimately, that is a decision for the Prosecutor to make.”

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