Caption

Warren County deputy worried she would die after being shot

Defense: Client thought he and his family were under attack.

Deputy Katie Barnes said she worried she would die after being wounded in an exchange of gunfire last June with Mohammed Laghaoui.

Barnes — a coach and former sports star from Mason — was testifying Tuesday in Laghaoui’s trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

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She said the gunfire started as she approached the Laghaoui apartment at the Orchards of Landen for the second time on June 9, 2016, and she saw a silhouetted figure in the parking lot.

Laghaoui faces 10 charges ranging from the attempted murder of Barnes to domestic violence.

He is accused of wounding Barnes and his father, as well as firing at one neighbor and into another neighbor’s apartment before fleeing the scene.

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Barnes, occasionally tearful, said she realized she “had been hit” after taking cover behind a tree outside Laghaoui’s apartment.

Asked how she knew she was being fired upon - for the first time in her career - Barnes said, “I heard them go by.”

As she was being transported from the scene, Barnes said she wondered, “Am I going to die?”

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Barnes was treated and released for a stomach wound and testified that she had returned to light duty. She nodded when asked if she was ready to return to patrol duties during testimony at the trial.

Earlier Tuesday, Laghaoui’s lawyer said Laghaoui thought he and his family were “under attack” when he wounded his father and Barnes.

“He thought he was in danger. He thought he was under attack,” Laghaoui’s lawyer, Nadeem Quraishi, said during his opening statement.

“He was also thinking about his family,” Quraishi said. “In his state of mind, that’s what he believed.”

Laghaoui, now 20, believed he had been robbed shortly before he realized Barnes was moving toward him in the dark, his mind clouded by synthetic marijuana and mental problems, Quraishi said.

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The incident occurred as Laghaoui was exhibiting signs of mental illness, defecating and urinating in unusual places, insisting he be called ‘Frank’ and speaking in strange accents and languages, the lawyer added.

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Quraishi followed Warren County prosecutors, who laid out their case against Laghaoui, who faces a prison term if convicted in connection with the incident that triggered lockdown of a busy area of the county and a prolonged manhunt.

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Also Tuesday, Sgt. William Langdon said Laghaoui told him he planned to move out west to live with a woman he knew on July 1.

Like Barnes, Langdon said the Laghaoui domestic dispute was over hummus he had eaten and failed to clean up. He also described watching Barnes fall as she scaled a fence to get to where he could safely get her to a hospital.

Also testifying was Lau Laghaoui, the defendant’s younger brother, who placed the 911 call prompting Barnes to come to the apartment the first time.

The 911 call is to be played Wednesday in the trial.

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