A viral video depicting a girl being struck in the head by a shovel during what appears to be a fight has gained national attention for some local teenagers and triggered an investigation by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.
The Miami County Sheriff’s Office is questioning the teens involved to determine if it was real or a hoax, according to Sheriff’s Major Steve Lord.
It’s real, according to Josh Officer, the 14-year-old Tipp City teen who recorded the May 4th incident with his cell phone.
“It was real fight. People were thinking it was fake and stuff on the Dr. Drew Show. It was completely real. They have been wanting to fight for about a year now,” Officer said.
It all started with a war of words between Miranda Fugate, 14 of Vandalia, and Emily Olinger, 14 of Bethel Township, over a guy they knew.
Fugate is being held at the Montgomery County Juvenile Justice Center for an unrelated incident. Olinger said late Thursday that she is expected to be in court next week to learn if she’ll face charges in the shovel incident.
The video shows the two girls fighting in what Officer said was Olinger’s yard.
Nearly seven minutes into the video, Fugate is seen chasing after Olinger, who is headed for a door to a house. Fugate stops and turns back when she sees that Olinger has a shovel in her hand. Fugate runs and Olinger hurls the shovel, hitting Fugate in the back of the head. Fugate then falls to the ground.
“I told her to leave again, and she refused, so then the first thing I saw was my shovel. I picked it up and then she said, ‘OK, OK’ and by the time she said she was done, I already hit her with it,” Olinger said. “I’ve been bullied ever since I was in the fourth grade, and that’s why I hit her with the shovel because I’m tired of it.”
Fugate, who is being referred to online as “Shovel Girl,” eventually went to the hospital. She said the hit gave her a concussion, caused her to be deaf in one ear and she may need surgery.
“She was mad because she lost, in my opinion, and grabbed the shovel,” Fugate said while being interviewed by the Dayton Daily News.
Lord said he viewed the video and called the content alarming.
“When we have these types of videos, we need to explore to make sure that they’re authentic and not staged, as far as an investigation,” Lord said.
Lord went on to say that anytime someone posts videos of themselves or others breaking the law, law enforcement officials will have a better chance to find out about the conduct.
A truancy officer in Miami County saw the video on Youtube and reported what he saw to the authorities. This resulted in a Bethel High School administrator reporting the incident to the sheriff’s office on Monday.
After questioning the parties involved, the sheriff’s office will decide whether to pursue charges with the prosecutor’s office, according to Lord.
“Anytime you’re dealing with an assault that’s potentially deadly, you run a risk. In this case, what the law is going to look at in Ohio is whether that injury is substantial physical harm or less than serious physical harm. If it’s determined to be serious physical harm then that could be a felony,” Lord said. “Also, if you start hitting people in the head with a shovel, it can lead to death.”
When asked her reaction to the fact that her son shot the video, Officer’s mother Martha Allison said, “I felt like he was just a kid, doing what he does best. I don’t think he had any feeling over it. I really haven’t talked to him about it. We’re just more or less excited about the notoriety and how it’s gotten so big.”