An Ohio man was finally sentenced for shooting an Ohio Department of Natural Resources ranger and unlawfully possessing the weapon used in the shooting. Brian Liming, 45, pleaded guilty in August 2021 to the December 2020 incident. He was sentenced to nine years and 364 days in prison by a federal grand jury last week, WLWT Channel 5 News reports.
Liming accidentally shot Officer Kevin Behr, a 25-year veteran of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, around 4 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2020. Behr was in the midst of a deer poaching investigation at the time, according to the Cincinnati Inquirer. Court documents show that Liming and two other men were looking for deer and stopped to shoot a deer in a wooded area near Macedonia Road. Liming apparently fired his shotgun to “chase the male,” but the shot hit Behr.
“Hunting with a 20-caliber scope and thermal optics, he discharged his firearm and struck Ohio wildlife investigator Kevin Behr, who was present on the property and in the process of setting up an investigation into allegations of poaching from the road,” Clinton said. County Attorney Andrew McCoy told the Wilmington News Journal. “Officer Behr called Liming to stop shooting, call 911 and ask for help. Liming discarded his firearm and thermal scope, did not call 911 despite having a phone, and fled.”
Officers were able to locate him on a nearby highway where he “claimed no involvement in the shooting” and said he was actually chasing the shooter, the News Journal reported. Once Liming was in custody, officers discovered his prior domestic violence misdemeanor, which made it illegal for him to possess a firearm or ammunition in the first place.
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While Behr’s injuries were not life-threatening, he was hospitalized for three months and underwent multiple surgeries. Behr’s pelvis was shattered and his internal organs damaged. He now must have a colostomy bag at all times and uses two canes to get around, according to the Wilmington News Journal.
According to the ODNR, four officers have been shot and killed since the department was first established:
- In 1916, a deputy game warden was killed by a 19-year-old squirrel hunter as he tried to take the unlicensed hunter’s gun. Instead, he was shot in the abdomen and died.
- In 1922, another warden was killed while trying to serve a warrant for bootleggers in Preble County.
- In 1952, a third ranger was killed by a squirrel hunter hunting out of season.
- In 1955, an officer was killed by a landowner who was interfering with a wildlife arrest.
As for Liming, his federal sentence will immediately follow the local one.