Support ‘overwhelming’ for shot wildlife officer


Jen Balduf - Springfield News-Sun



SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — An Ohio wildlife officer has spent the last three weeks in intensive care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after he was shot in Clinton County during an undercover deer poaching investigation.

Kevin Behr, a 25-year veteran of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has had seven surgeries since he was shot Dec. 20, 2020, on private land.

A Greene County man, Brian R. Liming, is accused of shooting Behr.

Liming, 43, of Caesarcreek Twp. southeast of Xenia, was in the woods hunting when he told investigators he fired a shot at a buck.

“Mr. Liming reports he heard someone screaming, so he ran and he found a man with a gunshot wound,” according to an affidavit from Clinton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Eastes filed Dec. 22 in Clinton County Municipal Court.

The gunshot victim was identified as Behr, Eastes wrote.

Liming faces felony charges of assault and a weapons violation, and misdemeanors for hunting without a permit and for hunting on private property without permission. He has a Jan. 21 preliminary hearing scheduled in court, records show.

Two other men who were with Liming — Thomas J. Davis, 35, of Jefferson Twp. near Jamestown in Greene County, and Bryan S. Achtermann, 36, of Midland in Clinton County — face misdemeanor charges.

Davis is charged with unlawfully aiding an offender of prohibited activities for allegedly driving Liming that night. Achtermann is charged with hunting without a license and not having a deer permit. Both men have Monday court dates: Davis for a pretrial hearing and Achtermann for a scheduling conference, court records show.

None of the men are in custody.

“It wasn’t an accident,” said fellow wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 143 vice president. “They purposely made the decision to pull the trigger. That negligence resulted in an officer getting shot.

“(Officers) put their life on the line to protect a resource that can’t defend itself, and that’s what (Behr) was doing that day,” Gilkey said.

Now, overwhelming support has poured out for the seriously injured Behr, Gilkey said. Cincinnati’s FOP lodge also is doing what they can.

“From the beginning when I first told him what was going on, it was, ‘what do you need? We have your back. We are going to help you. We are there for you,’” Gilkey said.

Local organization The Shield is helping cover the cost of hotel rooms for Behr’s family.

“Kevin’s a dedicated family man. He’s big into family. I know that he really likes karate.”

For the husband and father of three, a long road to recovery awaits. His family said they’re grateful for the support from the community.

“The encouraging thumbs up picture that we got … makes everyone feel better when everyone sees those pictures,” Gilkey said. “They know he’s fighting. He’s scrapping.”

Jen Balduf

Springfield News-Sun

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