Suspect detained after shots fired at police officer in North College Hill

Updated: Jan. 14, 2020 at 4:37 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH COLLEGE HILL (FOX19) - A man is being detained in connection with an incident Monday in which shots were fired at a police officer as she checked a vacant home in North College Hill, according to the North College Hill Police Department.

Steven Phifer, 38, who police say they believe is the suspect who fired the shots, is currently being held on a parole violation for a 2018 weapons charge.

Steven Phifer
Steven Phifer(Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

Officer Lauren Shepherd was in the 1800 block of Dallas Avenue about 10 a. m. when police said she heard a gunshot inside a house.

She then reportedly circled to the back garage, where the suspect was trying to escape.

At that point, police said he turned his gun on the officer.

“When she could see his hands, she noticed that he had a gun and pointed the gun in her direction and started firing shots,” Police Chief Ryan Schrand said. “She took cover and noticed him running northbound through the alley and going from there.”

Shepherd was not hurt.

Police said a handgun was recovered in a backyard of a home on Savannah Avenue.

Officer Lauren Shepherd
Officer Lauren Shepherd(North College Hill Police)

The chief said Shepherd would have been justified in firing back, but he praised her decision not to.

"We have a lot of things we have to consider,” he said. “We have to consider the backdrop, we have to consider all kinds of things. So, the person fired at her and took off running, so after that, her backdrop is everybody’s houses that are back there and the subject is running.”

North College Hill Schools were put on lockdown after the shooting as the suspect in the direction of the Board of Education building.

The order was lifted about 11:45 a.m.

Police said Phifer is being held while they wait for a forensic report to come back before filing a new charge against him.

He is no stranger to the jail and, in fact, spent his birthday there Monday.

The parole violation he is being held on is related to an incident in November 2018 that bears some striking resemblance to the current situation.

Both occurred in the same area of North College Hill and resulted in schools going on lockdown, court records show.

Police wrote in an affidavit they arrested Phifer on Nov. 5, 2018, after they received a radio run of shots being fired from a house in North College Hill in the 1800 block of Dallas Avenue.

According to that sworn statement, police found spent shell casings and talked to a witness, a neighbor. Three city schools and 6 day cares were put on lockdown for the duration of the incident

Phifer would not come to the door when they knocked, court records show. During a search of the building, he was found hiding in a closet in possession of a stolen firearm with a prior conviction of aggravated assault.

He pleaded guilty to having weapons under disability and receiving stolen property. Two other charges - inducing panic and discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises - were dismissed.

On Dec. 11, 2018, he was sentenced to two years in prison total but given credit for 36 days served and then his total sentence was ordered to be one year by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Melba Marsh, court documents show.

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.