Officers involved in Foodtown shooting honored


SIDNEY — On Dec. 21, 2022, at approximately 8:01 a.m., officers of the Sidney Police Department were dispatched to Sidney Foodtown on a report of a male with a gun inside the store. The officers involved are now being honored with awards for their actions during the incident.

While officers were en route to the scene, dispatcher Pam Goins, who was on the phone with a female caller, could hear shots being fired. Goins remained on the line with the caller for 6 minutes and 50 seconds, keeping the caller calm throughout the ordeal while at the same time relaying additional information to responding officers.

Officer Jason Viapiano was first to arrive and entered the store alone, looking for the male subject. He took a tactical position in the front of the store, directed customers to safety, and radioed responding officers of his position and coordinated their response. Officer Andy Shappie and Officer Aaron Wesbecher, along with Sgt. Christopher Burmeister arrived on the scene a few moments later and made entry into the store.

Officers eventually located and made contact with the male subject with the gun. After numerous attempts to have him surrender peacefully, the male subject disobeyed officers’ orders to surrender and without warning brandished a weapon from his person and was subsequently shot by officers, immediately neutralizing any further threats to the officers and persons still in the store. Officers provided immediate lifesaving measures to the male subject until Sidney Fire and EMS arrived on scene. Ultimately the male subject succumbed to his injuries.

For their actions that day, while under extremely dangerous circumstances to themselves and the community, the City of Sidney and the Sidney Police Department recognizes the bravery and courage exemplified by their officers and civilian staff that went above and beyond the call of duty. These employees are hereby presented the following awards from the city and Sidney Police Department:

Officer Jason Viapiano – Police Medal of Valor

Sgt. Christopher Burmeister – Certificate of Merit

Officer Andy Shappie – Certificate of Merit

Officer Aaron Wesbecher – Certificate of Merit

Dispatcher Pam Goins – Police Civilian Commendation, the highest Police Department award presented to a civilian for actions above and beyond the call of duty.

On Feb. 16, 2023, the Shelby County grand jury voted not to indict Sidney Police Officers in the officer-involved shooting at the Foodtown store. The incident was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) who presented their findings before the grand jury. After BCI’s presentation, the grand jury found the officers acted reasonably in addressing the threat to others and themselves. Chief Mark McDonough agrees with Tim Sells, Shelby County Prosecuting Attorney, who stated in his press release regarding incident at the grand jury presentation: “We regret the loss of life, but this is a situation where officers really had no choice but to take action to protect the intended victim and the public.”

According to McDonough, the officers and the dispatcher involved in this incident downplay their actions saying they had a job to do and were not looking for praise or accolades for their actions and that they were faced with a dangerous situation and went above and beyond to protect the lives of the community and their fellow officers.

Their actions that day reflect great credit upon themselves and the Sidney Police Department, according to McDonough.

The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Police Department, 234 W. Court St., Sidney.

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