LOGAN — A homeowner is being hailed a hero after he followed a vehicle occupied by three males that allegedly shot at his residence on state Route 328.
Three Columbus men were arrested Wednesday night after Hocking County Sheriff’s Office received a report that someone in a vehicle had allegedly fired a weapon towards a New Plymouth area residence.
According to Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North, the caller stated that he attempted to confront the occupants in the vehicle who then sped away. The caller followed the suspect’s vehicle and provided a detailed description and location until officers arrived in the area.
HCSO deputies and officers from Logan Police Department were able to stop the vehicle on U.S. 33, just west of state Route 664.
“If not for the actions of the caller, there would have been very little chance these suspects would have been apprehended,” stated Sheriff North. “He should be commended for his actions and bravery.”
Three Hispanic males were detained and a Logan Police K9 unit conducted a sniff of the vehicle. The K9 alerted to the odor of narcotics coming from inside the vehicle, which gave them probable cause to search the vehicle further.
Upon searching the vehicle, deputies located spent shell casings, live ammunition and a hidden compartment, which deputies believe had been used to transport narcotics.
The three men were transported to HCSO where an interview was conducted.
North told The Logan Daily News, the males admitted to firing a .22 caliber rifle from the vehicle towards a wooded area. They stated they were test firing the weapon and did not intend to shoot towards someone’s home. They also admitted to throwing the firearm from the vehicle after they realized they were being followed.
Deputies believe the shooting to be random and not targeted towards the victim in any way.
Lucia A. Escobar, 33, of Columbus, was arrested and charged with improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
Ricardo Ruiz, 30, of Columbus, was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
Lmatute M. Nelson, 24, of Columbus, was arrested and charged with hidden compartments in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony.
The three men are currently incarcerated in Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, and were arraigned in Hocking County Municipal Court Friday. They each received a $10,000 cash or surety bond with the following conditions — shall not move without informing the court; shall possess no weapons; and must remain law-abiding during pendency of the case.
A third-degree felony is punishable up to 60 months in prison with a $10,000 fine; a fourth-degree felony is punishable up to 18 months in prison with a $5,000 fine.