UPDATE: Homeowner Shoots Break-in Suspect in Head, Deputies Say

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

UPDATE at 6 p.m.

GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ)--Taking the law into your own hands. That's what a local homeowner did when he caught a thief breaking into his storage shed. Armed with his shotgun, one shot was all it took and the burglary came to an abrupt end.

“I woke up and heard the alarm and came out at 3:30 in the morning,” Ivan Hurt said.

Hurt lives alone in rural northern Gallia County. He has a shed full of equipment he values and fiercely protects it. That's why when two men broke into the building early Friday morning, Ivan was ready.

“I saw him come, and he turned like this and he had a flashlight in one hand and something else in the other, so I shot,” Hurt said.

Mr. Hurt wasted no time, he was barely out of his house when he pulled the trigger from more than 30 yards away.

“You see this spray pattern. That’s what happens when you shoot from so far away. I didn’t want to kill anyone, and it still makes me sick that I even had to wound someone. I’ve been robbed before and that’s when I installed an alarm so I could be ready,” Hurt said.

“There are a lot of thefts because people are stealing to get their drugs,” said Gallia County Sheriff David Martin.

Martin said thefts are up nationally and that includes Gallia County. He said residents are tired of it and they're not going to take it anymore.

“The law protects you if you feel there is imminent danger to you or family members,” said Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins.

And if there's any doubt about what the man was up to, Hurt said he left an incriminating piece of evidence behind.

“This is a mask he was wearing, and you can even see the blood from where he was hit,” said Hurt.

Ronald J. Johnson was the suspect and shooting victim. He was in fair condition Friday evening at St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington. The second suspect got away. Police are still searching for him. Both men will face charges.

There was no word on whether Hurt will be charged with anything. Prosecutors will decide whether he acted negligently or in self defense.

Original story

GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- After catching a suspect breaking into his garage, deputies say a Gallia County man took the law into his own hands.

The Gallia County Sheriff's Department says a homeowner in Raccoon Township, which is in the northern part of Gallia County near Rio Grande, shot a man in the head.

Investigators say the shooting victim is 28-year old Ronald J. Johnson of Vinton in Gallia County. He is listed in fair condtion at St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington.

Deputies say the homeowner is 63-year-old Ivan Hurt.

According to deputies, around 3 a.m. Friday morning, Hurt heard someone rustling around in his garage, so he grabbed his shotgun and went out to investigate.

After deputies say he shot Johnson, another suspect got away. Sheriff's deputies are still searching for that second man.

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