FINDLAY — After hearing testimony that a Findlay man broke into a home armed with a rifle before he was shot and killed, a Hancock County grand jury determined charges shouldn’t be filed against the shooter.
Trey D. James, 24, was shot multiple times Dec. 9 inside a home in the 200 block of George Street, near the University of Findlay after indicating to several men inside that he had a weapon — a stolen AR-15-style rifle. In response, one man — Travis Baldridge, 22, of Findlay — shot him at least five times, police said.
Mr. James died a short time later in the Blanchard Valley Hospital.
“If he didn’t have permission to come in and they felt threatened, self-defense starts to come into play,” Hancock County Prosecutor Phil Riegle said Wednesday.
Mr. Baldridge could have faced charges of murder or involuntary manslaughter, though charges were considered for everyone involved, Mr. Riegle said.
A grand jury made its decision Tuesday.
“It was a sad situation all the way around,” Mr. Riegle said. “They lost a son, a nephew, and that’s a sad situation for the family. The grand jury didn’t feel there was enough evidence to move forward on charges, including against Travis Baldridge.”
On Dec. 9, police say Mr. James went to the home to confront someone who accused him of stealing drugs, money, and guns from the home that week. The burglary was not reported to police, officials said.
Mr. James knocked on the front door of the George Street home but was denied entry. Mr. James then entered the back door and began fighting with some of the men, who were in the living room, police said.
He was forced out of the house, and the men inside went upstairs.
Mr. James soon returned and announced he was armed, according to a police report. He had a Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle, which was reported stolen, Mr. Riegle said.
In response, Mr. Baldridge retrieved a Century Arms AK-47 knock-off pistol from upstairs and moved to the top of the stairs, police said. He said he saw Mr. James walk to the bottom of the stairs and ordered him to drop the weapon.
He told police Mr. James turned toward him and raised the gun, which is when Mr. Baldridge shot him, police said. Mr. James sustained gunshot wounds to his legs and abdomen.
Mr. Riegle praised Findlay police for their investigation. “They talked to a lot of people and collected a lot of evidence,” he said.
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