Warren County horse trainer shot himself; officer shot in head improves, police say

Six shots rang out in a cruiser camera video of a shooting Tuesday night that critically wounded a Clearcreek Twp. police officer and killed a 65-year-old man at his horse farm.

Officer Eric Ney, a 14-year veteran, was shot across the face and was flown in critical condition to Miami Valley Hospital after he and Sgt. Nicole Cordero responded to a domestic violence call.

Clearcreek Twp. Police Chief John Terrill said during a Thursday afternoon media briefing that Ney regained consciousness on Wednesday, and that on Thursday he was up and even did a bit of walking. However, his wounds are severe and he has a long recovery ahead of him, the chief said. He remains listed in critical but stable condition.

The suspect, 65-year-old Mark Evers, was shot by Cordero in the department’s first officer-involved shooting since its founding in 1975.

Evers was well known across the country as a harness racing trainer-driver. The United States Trotting Association recorded that Evers had 830 wins as a harness racing driver and 452 wins as a trainer. He conditioned the 2021 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year, Monte Miki, winner of the Metro Pace and the Breeders Crown, according to Harnesslink.com.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell, who joined the chief for the media briefing, said that Evers also apparently shot himself.

“Mr. Evers suffered a contact wound to his head,” Fornshell said. “It is apparent that Sgt. Cordero is not close enough to Mr. Evers to have inflicted that contact wound.”

This means that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will have to analyze the video, audio, shell casings and other evidence to determine the sequence of events, he said.

“Based upon the information provided by the autopsy yesterday, we do know at this point in time that (Evers) was shot multiple times, there was a contact wound to his head — which could have been fatal — and there was also at least one other gunshot to his torso, which itself could have been fatal,” Fornshell said. “However, the sequencing of which of those shots came first may dictate how the coroner ultimately decides whether this is a suicide, a homicide or if they’re not able to determine the sequencing, an undetermined manner of death.”

Officers responded around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday to the 5900 block of state Route 48 on a report of a man ramming an ATV into his wife’s vehicle while they were involved in a fight at their farm. Police had been to the home multiple times in the past and some of those complaints included information about a weapon, but officers never before were called for domestic violence, Terrill said.

Evers’ wife called police after she and her husband argued about the way she wrapped a horse’s legs, Terrill said. When police arrived, they saw Evers on an ATV, ramming his wife’s vehicle, he said, before Evers drove off to the back of his property. Cordero and Ney were there for about an hour, speaking to him by cellphone and trying to coax him to return to the front of the farm so they could speak to him.

“It was the intent of the officers to arrest him for domestic violence, based upon the information that we had from the wife up to that point as to what had transpired,” Terrill said.

Evers finally agreed to return but wanted officers to remain 10 feet away. At one point, Cordero was able to give him paperwork to fill out and asked him to turn off the Gator’s engine.

“The Gator guns, you can hear the engine rev as maybe he was trying to take off. It was her intent at that point in time to arrest him for the domestic violence charge,” Terrill said. “In the video you will see him bail out the other side of that vehicle. He will raise his arm, and I think you can discern two shots fired at Officer Ney who was in front of the vehicle walking around. If you watch the video when you hear her say ‘put that gun away,’ he does pull out a gun.”

Cordero retrieves her gun and returned fire.

“This whole thing takes about 10, 15 seconds and it’s over,” Terrill said.

Ney and Cordero had been with the force since about 2008. Cordero, who is on paid administrative leave pending the BCI investigation, coordinates the department’s National Night Out and runs the Safety Town program.

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