SIDNEY — The man accused of shooting a Sidney police shooter was indicted Thursday by the Shelby County grand jury on four felony charges.
Brandon L. Steele, 34, of Sidney, faces attempted murder, possessing a weapon while under disability, and two felonious assault charges.
“When we originally charged, at the time of the crime, we charged it as felonious assault, which is a felony of the first degree, because it is an easier charge to prove. As we prepared this to present to the grand jury, in talking with our law enforcement officers, we determined that an attempted murder charge would be appropriate as well. It obviously involves the same conduct, but we believe the attempted murder was appropriate, so that is why I added it to the indictment and presented it to the grand jurors,” said Timothy Sell, county prosecutor.
So, not only was he indicted on those two charges, both of which are first degree felonies, but also on one count of attempted murder, a third first degree felony.
The fourth charge related to the shooting was for possessing a weapon while a fugitive from being served for a felony warrant following indictment on his earlier indictment of seven counts of child pornography charges, which is a third degree felony.
On Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, at about 10:30 p.m., Sidney police officer, Sgt. Tim Kennedy and Patrol Officer Brandon M. Heindl attempted to take Steele into custody at his home, 718 Lynn St., on an arrest warrant for child pornography. Steele fled. While in pursuit, they “voiced” him initially. And later, when Heindel came across him around the 700 block of Ronan Street, Heindel activated his Taser. Steele shot at Heindel and missed and kept moving. A few minutes later, Kennedy closed in on Steele’s position near the 700 block of Taft Street and tried to get him to lie on the ground. That’s when Steele fired at Kennedy, shooting him. Steele used the opportunity to escape and fled into the woods.
The bullet that hit Kennedy entered near his hip and its trajectory traveled inside his body upward into his abdomen, creating a critical, life-threatening situation. Kennedy was rushed to Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney and then was taken by Care Flight to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he underwent emergency surgery. Afterward, Kennedy remained in stable condition until being released from the hospital six days later, on Oct. 12.
Kennedy, who had been with Sidney Police Department since 2007, and was promoted to detective in 2016, received the department’s “Officer of the Year” award in 2017. Later he was promoted to sergeant and took on a different role in the department.
In addition to the sex-related offense, Steele now faced, at minimum, two counts of felonious assault on a police officer, each being first degree felonies. On Oct. 7, a warrant was issued for his arrest with Steele being listed “at large,” and special instructions to the individual serving him that he had “shot a Sidney Police Officer” and to therefore “use caution” because Steele is considered “armed and dangerous.”
The subsequent manhunt led Sidney police on a county-wide search, aided by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Despite Steele’s efforts to elude the police, on Thursday, Oct. 7, within 16 hours of the shooting, the police received a tip as to his whereabouts. The Sidney Piqua Tactical Response “SWAT” team was deployed, along with hostage negotiators, and a 1979 surplus 26-ton military armored vehicle, to a downtown Sidney home located at 204 W. South St., at the intersection of West Avenue and South Street, about a block away from the police station.
A standoff ensued between Steele and law enforcement. Several people Steele knew in the home were released, but Steele still refused to surrender. SWAT team members ultimately fired tear gas into one lower and one upper window of the two-story home to flush Steele out. It worked. At about 3 p.m., Steele exited the home with his hands raised. Three members of the SWAT team rushed toward him, got him to lie on the ground, and then handcuffed him before transporting him to the Shelby County Jail.
One weapon, an H&R model 372 32-caliber pistol, presumed to have been used in the officer shooting, was found at 204 W. South St., the residence where Steele was taken into custody.
On or about March 8, 2020, Steele allegedly downloaded or possessed on his phone obscene material involving a minor. On June 17, 2020, a warrant was issued for his arrest for seven counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, each a fourth degree felony. However, Steele had evaded arrest and was considered to be “at large” for 16 months until police tried to take him into custody in October.
After the manhunt, standoff, and eventual capture, Steele entered a plea of not guilty on Oct. 13, 2021, in Shelby County Common Pleas Court and was released on his own recognizance for the pandering charges, though he remained remanded into custody after his bond was set at $1 million on Oct. 8 in Sidney Municipal Court on the two charges of felonious assault on two Sidney police officers.