Jessica Thornton was settling in to do some work after returning home from her teaching job with Monroe Local Schools late Monday afternoon.
About 5 p.m., her daughter, Addison, said she heard sirens outside of their Turtlecreek Twp. home.
Not understanding what was going on, Thornton got up and looked outside. She saw a black car and a Middletown police cruiser in the front yard of her home on in the 2600-block of North Mason-Montgomery Road, along with other police vehicles.
In the next moments, Middletown police Officer Dennis Jordan and a suspect pursued by police, Christopher J. Hubbard, were both shot in the Thorntons’ front lawn. Jordan was treated and released from Atrium Medical Center following the incident, and Hubbard, who was wanted for questioning in relation to a Hamilton homicide, was still recovering in a local hospital late this week.
The incident unfolded with Thornton and her daughter inside. Thornton sent her daughter to a back bedroom and took cover in her kitchen while peeking around the wall to see what was going on outside.
Thornton said her daughter, a sixth-grader who attends Monroe schools, started screaming for her to come back to her. Thornton said she heard a ping, then a lot of gunshots.
“It happened so fast. The rounds were flying,” Thornton said. “We had holes in the siding, windows and one entering the house going through a drape and into the drywall.”
She said they found a bullet on their sofa. Her husband Tony said there were five bullet holes in the house’s siding and gutter
Tony was on his way home from his job as Monroe Local Schools technology director and was talking to his wife. He said he could hear the gunshots over the phone.
“Everything happened so fast,” she said.
When Tony Thornton arrived, police brought him to the house. He said the car was riding on its rims after the stop sticks punctured his tires. He also said there was blood on the grass where the shooting occurred.
“Thank God it worked out the way it did,” Tony Thornton said. “But we still have a lot of what-ifs. We never expected this to happen.”
The Thorntons have lived on that quiet road north of Mason for the past five years. Their son, Connor, 16, was at Monroe’s football team practice at the time of the incident.
Addison said she heard a lot of gunshots all at once. Tony Thornton said his daughter met with a school counselor on Thursday, her first day back in the classroom as part of Monroe’s hybrid schedule due to COVID-19.
“It was pretty traumatizing to her (Addison),” he said. “It’s been really hard on both of them.”
Jessica Thornton said she couldn’t sleep for a couple of nights after the incident. She said she is improving and has met with a counselor.
Thornton said she had not closed her garage door, and the incident will ensure she does it in the future because it would have provided Hubbard entry into their home.
“I can’t do enough to show my gratitude for their bravery,” Jessica Thornton said of the law enforcement response. “I can’t thank (Middletown police) Officer Denny Jordan and Koda, and all the officers enough. I’m thankful that K-9 Koda didn’t get hit.”
Jordan was hit three times and was released from Atrium Medical Center on Monday night. Hubbard received several gunshot wounds and was eventually taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treatment. As of Thursday, Hubbard remained hospitalized.
Jessica and Addison stopped by the Middletown police department this week to drop off some gifts and a thank you card that Addison made on her computer. They were disappointed they missed Jordan, who had just left the police station.
The Thorntons said they met with agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and with Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.
The Ohio BCI is investigating the incident because there are multiple jurisdictions involved. The investigation will be turned over the the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office for presentation to a grand jury.