BATH TWP., Ohio - Bath Township detectives believe they have “overwhelming evidence” to prove a former Navy SEAL lied when he claimed he was shot during an altercation with three black men outside of a popular shopping center.
Chris Heben, 44, of Medina, has been charged with misdemeanor counts of falsification and obstructing official business.
He's expected to show up at the Bath Police Department on Thursday to be served with a summons to appear for his arraignment in Akron Municipal Court. A court date has not been set at this time.
"We have overwhelming evidence based upon video, cell phone records and interviews that the shooting did not occur in the West Market Plaza and that Mr. Heben made false allegations to us," said Bath Township Police Chief Mike McNeely.
Heben told police he was nearly hit by a low-profile sports car backing up in the parking lot on March 28 and that its occupants, three black men, started shouting profanities at him.
Heben explained that he we went inside the Mustard Seed grocery store but forgot his wallet and came back outside. That's when he claimed the car nearly ran him over and he was shot in the stomach.
Police said Heben told them he plugged the hole in his abdomen and chased the suspects in his vehicle, but when they got on I-77, he drove to the fire department for help.
After his release from the hospital, Heben, who is currently a spokesman for Montrose Auto Group, explained why he didn't call 911 to NewsChannel5.
"I wanted to keep it on the down low. At that point in time, I did an immediate physical assessment and I was still functioning. Plus, I wanted to chase after these guys. I'm aggressive," Heben said.
McNeely acknowledged Heben suffered a gunshot wound and a brass projectile was removed from his abdomen, but officers said the investigation made it clear the shooting did not happen in the parking lot.
The chief would not speculate as to why Heben would make up an elaborate story. He also isn't sure where the shooting happened or how.
"That's only something he can answer," McNeely said.
He said a detective spent 30 to 40 hours every week investigating the case. He thinks Heben did a disservice to businesses in the plaza by making up a story.
McNeely said there were inconsistencies with Heben's interviews with the media, social media posts and interviews with the police.
A review of cell phone records also proved that Heben was not at the West Market Plaza at the time he said the incident occurred, the chief added.
"Aside from scaring the public it wastes people time," said Claire Hamlin who was shopping in the plaza. "There's a lot of crime out there and this guy is making up crime."
Others like Roxanne Burke said she is going to give Heben the benefit of the doubt.
"I don't think [the story] was made up. I'm sure something along those lines," said Burke who owns a hair salon in the plaza.
Keep checking back with newsnet5.com as this story develops.
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