A firefighter who shot his neighbor in Indianapolis in self-defense will not be charged with a crime, officials said this week.
Firefighter Dean Keller and his neighbor got into a heated argument last month over a section of fence separating their homes, officials said, adding that the two had been involved in a dispute for years.
The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office said that Keller, an 18-year veteran, approached the fence before neighbor Jeffrey Weigle pulled out a handgun from his pocket, ABC News reported. “Upon seeing Weigle’s handgun, Keller drew his handgun and fired at Weigle,” the office said.
Weigle is still in critical condition. If he recovers, the prosecutor’s office may consider charges against him.
“Given the aggression shown by Weigle … it was reasonable for Keller to believe deadly force was necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to himself and/or his wife, who was standing nearby,” the statement added.
Since 2009, the two men have fought more than a dozen times, the Indianapolis Star reported. After a fight in 2011, the two were arrested on battery charges.
“The decision to not file charges on Keller was a simple application of Indiana law and should not be looked upon as condoning the behavior of either party,” Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper was quoted by the newspaper as saying in an attempt to explain why Keller won’t face charges.
A video captured the incident, showing Weigle ride off camera in a lawn-mower before backing up and pulling out the gun. Weigle, who was shot in the chest, also fired his gun. Keller was unharmed.
Keller’s attorney, Michael J. Kyle, told ABC that his client “is a respected fireman who is praying that his neighbor, Mr. Weigle, will survive and live a long, full life.”
“However, Dean does not regret defending himself, his wife, his family and his property against this neighbor, whose escalating erratic behavior culminated with Mr. Weigle drawing a weapon in an unprovoked and aggressive manner against Dean and his wife,” Kyle added.