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Chris Heben

Claim:   Former Navy SEAL Chris Heben was shot following a parking lot altercation and drove himself to the hospital after pursuing his assailant[s].


Examples:   [Collected via Facebook, April 2014]

Facebook posts say 'Navy Seal Chris Heben was shot in the stomach by 3 gangbangers, plugged the hole with his finger, chased the attachers for vehicle license plate, then drove himself to the hospital.' I would like to know if this story is true.

Origins:   On 28 March 2014, Christopher Heben, a 44-year-old former Navy SEAL, was shot by unknown assailants after an altercation that took place at a shopping center in Bath Township, Ohio:
Police are seeking information following the shooting of a former Navy SEAL in a parking lot.

Christopher Mark Heben, 44, of Medina County, was shot outside Mustard Seed Market & Cafe, Bath Township Police Chief Michael McNeely said.

After Heben was shot in the stomach, he followed the vehicle carrying the shooting suspect but began to feel ill and drove himself to the Bath Township Police and Fire Department to seek treatment, McNeely said.

McNeely said the incident began when a car struck Heben as he walked in the parking lot and he and the driver exchanged words.

Heben then began to walk to the Mustard Seed but realized he had forgotten his wallet. When he walked back to get his wallet, the chief said, the suspect’s vehicle pulled up next to him and then Heben realized he had been shot.

“He doubled up in pain,” the chief said, then he jumped into the car and followed the vehicle.

Heben described the vehicle he was chasing as a gray, low-profile sports car with a raised spoiler on the trunk, black rims and dark tinted side and back windows, McNeely said. It drove north on Cleveland-Massillon Road and was last seen near a ramp to Interstate 77, but it was not known if it entered the freeway.
Chris Heben posted updates on his condition on his Facebook page, saying:
Much love and many thanks to everyone for all of the well wishes!

It definitely keeps me going! I’ve been up walking around, yesterday and again this morning. The nurses are telling me to ‘take it slow’.....YEAH RIGHT! Had the NG tube taken out at 10 p.m. last night, felt like a new man and actually got 3 hours of sleep last night. I’m gonna take this dressing off in a bit. I’ll post a few more pics soon. I'm good to go!
Police at the time indicated they were still seeking leads on suspects in the case:
[Chief] McNeely said police are reviewing numerous videos from local businesses to determine if the incident was recorded.

The chief said publicity about the incident had already generated some good leads.

Anyone with information about the incident or who witnessed the altercation is urged to call Bath Township Police at 330-666-3736. Detective Dan Lance also can be emailed at dlance@bathtownship.org.
On 3 September 2014, the Bath Police Department in Bath, Ohio charged Christopher Mark Heben with two misdemeanors, obstructing official business and falsification. Bath Police Chief Michael McNeely told reporters that between six and 12 sets of surveillance footage from the area of the shooting on the evening Heben was shot were reviewed, with not one of the clips corroborating the claims made by the former Navy SEAL about the circumstances of the incident.

Bath Police indicated that the circumstances of Heben's injuries remained unclear, but that they were able to positively confirm the 44-year-old was not shot at West Market Plaza as had been previously claimed. McNeely allowed that the counts with which Heben was charged in September 2014 were highly unusual charges, and that the former Navy SEAL had "communicated false information" to police.

Nonetheless, in April 2015 Heben was cleared of those charges in a jury trial:
The prosecution's case against former Navy SEAL Christopher Heben was built on purported evidence that his cellphone records showed he was not where he said he was when he told his story about being shot in a West Market Street shopping plaza.

In the aftermath of the jury's swift rejection of that position — not guilty verdicts in 35 minutes on two misdemeanor charges — there was an explanation of how the strategy backfired.

Heben's lawyer, James L. Burdon, said it was more like a complete collapse of the prosecution's case.

Burdon said he didn't know positively, having been unable to talk to any jurors, but it had to be "very, very difficult" for them, he said, to be convinced of this theory: "The prosecution rested in large measure," Burdon said, "on the fact that he could not have been at the Mustard Seed Market because the cellphone records dictated that he was at the wrong location when, in fact, all of the evidence — the technical evidence in this case — proved the exact opposite.”

Last updated:   4 April 2015

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    Carney, Jim.   "Former Navy SEAL Shot in Bath Township Parking Lot."
    Akron Beacon Journal.   31 March 2014.

    Meyer, Ed.  
"Lawyer for Former Navy SEAL Says Cellphone Records Helped to Debunk Prosecution's Case."
    Akron Beacon Journal.   2 April 2015.

    WKYC-TV.   "Witnesses Sought in Shooting of Former Navy SEAL."
    2 April 2014.

    WKYC-TV.   "Bath Police: Ex-Navy SEAL Chris Heben Lied About Being Shot."
    3 September 2014.