Allen County deputy cleared of criminal charges in shooting incident

July 25, 2013

LIMA — An Allen County tactical team officer who shot a man during a standoff with a man who fired on officers has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

While officials never really questioned whether Allen County Deputy Gary Hook broke any laws when he returned fire, Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish said Thursday the matter was investigated by an independent agency and submitted to a prosecutor for review.

“The investigation showed that Deputy Gary Hook acted within the policies and procedures of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office," Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach said. Riggenbach’s agency conducted a third-party investigation into the matter to avoid a conflict of interest.

There remains a pending internal investigation within the Allen County Sheriff’s Office to determine whether Hook followed departmental policies and procedures. That will be completed soon, Crish said.

While Hook has been cleared, the man who allegedly fired upon officers, James Fleenor, could face charges. The case will be presented to the Paulding County grand jury for review on Aug. 8.

The incident happened in Paulding County, where the Allen County Sheriff’s Office tactical team was called since Paulding County does not have a team. The matter was turned over to the Paulding County Prosecutor’s Office to present the case to the grand jury, Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers said.

Hook returned to work a few days after the shooting, Crish said. Hook is a detective, and a lot of his work is inside the department. Crish also talked to Hook to make sure he was mentally able to return to work, he said.

Hook is off the tactical team until the investigations are complete, Crish said.

Crish said the incident that occurred July 3 will not deter Allen County from using its tactical team outside the county when nearby sheriff departments need help.

The incident began when Paulding County deputies were called to a home in Haviland over an intoxicated man. Fleenor, 42, allegedly barricaded himself inside his parent’s home and refused to come out. When the tactical team entered, Fleenor allegedly fired upon the team, and Hook returned fire with a 12-gauge shotgun, striking Fleenor.

Fleenor was taken to the hospital and has since been released. He is not in custody, Crish said.

Deputy Gary Hook