Fact Check

Navy SEAL Chris Heben Shot

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

Published April 1, 2014


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, suffered injuries that he maintained were the result of his being 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.

Several months later, local police asserted thet had gathered evidence proving that Heben had lied about what had transpired the day he was shot and charged him with falsification:

Bath Township detectives believe they have "overwhelming evidence" to prove a former Navy SEAL lied when he claimed he was shot during an altercation with three black men outside of a popular shopping center.

Chris Heben, 44, of Medina, has been charged with misdemeanor counts of falsification and obstructing official business.

"We have overwhelming evidence based upon video, cell phone records and interviews that the shooting did not occur in the West Market Plaza and that Mr. Heben made false allegations to us," said Bath Township Police Chief Mike McNeely.

Heben was acquitted of those charges in a jury trial:

A former Navy SEAL accused of making up a story about being shot in a mall parking lot , a tale that gripped readers after Heben recounted his ordeal to Navy Times, was found not guiltyy.

Former Quartermaster 2nd Class (SEAL) Chris Heben, 45, faced up to 190 days in jail and a $1,750 fine for falsification and obstruction of official justice.

The jury reached its verdict after deliberating for half an hour at the end of the second day of his trial in Akron, Ohio,

The case rested on one phone call Heben made that evening.

The prosecution argued that records show it was made near Heben's home in Medina. The defense argued that cell phones don't reliably ping the towers nearest where the call was made, so Heben could have dialed somewhere between the shopping center and the fire station.

Last updated:   19 April 2015


    Carney, Jim.   "Former Navy SEAL Shot in Bath Township Parking Lot."

    Akron Beacon Journal.   31 March 2014.

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

    31 March 2014.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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