WORTHINGTON, Ohio – A teenager out looking for ghosts with friends was shot in the head and critically wounded near a house considered spooky by local teens, police said Wednesday.
A man who lives in the house, Allen S. Davis, 40, was charged in the shooting and told reporters from jail Wednesday that he was trying to drive off trespassers and did not intend to hurt the teen girls, whom he called juvenile delinquents.
He said he fired his rifle out his bedroom window Tuesday night after hearing voices outside the home, which is across the street from a cemetery and blocked from view by overgrown trees and shrubbery.
"I didn't know what their weaponry was, what their intentions were," he said. "In a situation like that, you assume the worst-case scenario if you're going to protect your family from a possible home invasion and murder."
The 17-year-old girl, Rachel Barezinsky, and two of her friends got out of their car parked near the home about 10 p.m. and took a few steps on the property, police Lt. Doug Francis said. They jumped back in when a girl in the car sounded the horn, and they heard what they thought were firecrackers as they drove away.
The girls — all students at a suburban Columbus high school— drove around the block, and Barezinsky was struck while sitting in the car as they passed the house again and heard a second round of what turned out to be gunshots, Francis said.
Barezinsky, who also was struck in the shoulder, was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center in critical condition, police said. The hospital would not provide an update on her condition Wednesday.
Davis, a self-employed nonfiction writer, said he had prepared the rifle after numerous previous instances of trespassing but he did not know until Wednesday that teens considered his house haunted. Police should charge the teens with trespassing, he said.
"It's really something how homeowners defend themselves and the way the laws are written, we're the ones brought up on charges while the perpetrators get little or nothing," he said.
Davis, who was charged with five counts of felonious assault, told officers he had been annoyed by trespassers and that he was aiming for the car's tires from his first-floor bedroom, police said.
Francis said police do not intend to pursue criminal charges against the girls.
Francis said Davis' home had a reputation at the high school for being haunted by ghosts and witches, and students have been daring each other to knock on the door or go in the yard.