Home Fire News Firefighter will not be charged after firing first in modern-day Hatfield–McCoy feud

Firefighter will not be charged after firing first in modern-day Hatfield–McCoy feud


Johnson County Prosecutors say an Indiana firefighter, who shot his neighbor four times in the chest following a dispute over a fence acted in self defense and will not face charges.

ABC News reports the incident, which is captured on video and released by the prosecutor’s office, depicts Indianapolis firefighter Dean Keller and neighbor Jeffrey Weigle engaged in a heated argument June 27 along a section of fence, which runs along Keller’s property line.

After Weigle is seen making adjustments to the fence, he’s seen driving away on his lawnmower — only to return a few seconds later while simultaneously pulling a handgun.

“Upon seeing Weigle’s handgun, Keller drew his handgun and fired at Weigle,” the prosecutor’s office tells ABC News in a statement, adding that Weigle fired back.

“Given the aggression shown by Weigle — it was reasonable for Keller to believe deadly force was necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to himself and/or his wife, who was standing nearby,” ABC News reports the statement reads.

The prosecutor’s office added for ABC News that it’s still working to determine if Weigle, who more than a week after the altercation remains in critical condition, will face charges.

Michael J. Kyle, Keller’s attorney, told ABC News in a statement that Keller “is a respected fireman who is praying that his neighbor, Mr. Weigle, will survive and live a long, full life.”

Although the Kellers wish Weigle the best, the family doesn’t regret defending themselves against his aggressive behavior.

“Dean does not regret defending himself, his wife, his family and his property against this neighbor whose escalating erratic behavior culminated with Mr. Weigle drawing a weapon in an unprovoked and aggressive manner against Dean and his wife,” Kyle added for ABC News, saying that Keller “acted reasonably under the circumstances” and is “looking forward to moving beyond this event.”

In a story that reads more like and epic argument between the Hatfields and McCoys than neighbor-loving-neighbor, the men have argued more than a dozen times during the last eight years over everything from the location of a fence to Keller’s dogs, Chief Deputy Randy Werden of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office tells ABC News.

According to IndyStar, on Sept. 9, 2011, officers arrested both men on battery charges in another fight. During that scuffle, Keller was stabbed in the arm, and Weigle suffered cuts, scratches and bite wounds, according to a police report.

IndyStar reports in this recent altercation, Keller, an 18-year Indianapolis Fire Department firefighter, was uninjured.


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