Police chief: State will have to prove if man who fatally shot 2 Dayton teens did not act in self-defense

Two 17-year-olds were fatally shot while reportedly trespassing on a man’s property in Dayton Wednesday night.

  • Teens ID'd as Devin Henderson and Javier Harrison, both 17, of Dayton
  • The man fired multiple times with a .38-caliber revolver at 3 individuals in his garage
  • The third individual ran, but returned when he saw police and was arrested
  • Chief: The state will have to prove the man did not act in self-defense

>>RELATED: Man facing trespassing charges in connection to deadly shooting of 2 teens in garage

Prosecutors will have to prove if the fatal shooting of the two teenagers was a criminal act and not done in self-defense, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said Thursday afternoon.

It’s very early in the investigation, he said, and the police department is asking the public for patience. The Montgomery County Prosecutor has declined comment.

“It’s deeply tragic that two 17-year-olds lost their lives in this incident,” the chief said during a news briefing outside police headquarters downtown.

The boys were identified Thursday morning as Devin Henderson and Javier Harrison, both of Dayton.

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Biehl said the investigation so far has revealed the man fired multiple shots from a .38-caliber revolver when he encountered three individuals in the detached garage of his home in the 800 block of Conners Street on Wednesday night.

The garage was not secured. The three were in a car. The man heard voices and noises coming from the garage and went outside, armed, to see what was going on, the chief said.

The third individual, who was not hit in the gunfire, ran but returned when he saw police and firefighters arrive on the property. Police arrested him on a pending charge of breaking and entering.

“There was some drug activity occurring at that time” when the encounter occurred, Biehl said, “but exactly what they were doing, intending to do, is not clear.”

Biehl said he’s sure the three boys knew each other but beyond that police don’t know the nature of their relationship.

The resident now is staying with a family member. Biehl did not publicly release the name of the man or the third individual.

He reiterated that police have a lot of work to do in the investigation, mainly because the law on justifiable self-defense has changed. The burden now is on prosecutors to prove that a person did not act in self-defense in cases such as the Conners Street homicides.

Biehl also said police have not yet searched the car the three individuals were in, police don’t know whether the teenagers were armed and investigators have to verify the man’s claims he has been a prior victim of crime.

>> RELATED: Teen’s father speaks out after shot, killed by property owner

The man told emergency dispatchers two people had been trespassing in or near his garage when he fired the shots, Dayton police Lt. Steven Bauer said.

“What did you do, did you chase them?” the dispatcher asks. “You shot them?”

“Yes,” he replies. “They are in the garage.”

“You shot them with a gun … are they dead?” the dispatcher asked the caller.

“They are on the floor,” he states.

“I am going to put it on the floor,” he says regarding his gun, anticipating the arrival of police. “I am outside of the front door.”

Police arrive while the homeowner was still on the phone with the dispatcher, and he said to the dispatcher that he had put his weapon on the ground.

There was a vehicle involved in the incident that police towed as evidence, the lieutenant said.

The teenagers are from the area, and it was not clear whether the property owner knows the boys, Bauer said. He declined to respond when asked whether the teenagers were armed.

Detectives questioned the man who shot the boys.

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“He called us immediately,” Bauer said, “and put the weapon down before police arrived on scene.”

The teens had been students previously at Dayton Public Schools, however had withdrawn from the district, according to district spokesperson Alex Kincaid.

We will continue working on this story throughout the day to bring you more details.

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