Cincinnati firefighter charged in violent attack on Xavier students at The Banks

Published: Aug. 30, 2018 at 12:17 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2018 at 1:35 PM EDT
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DOWNTOWN CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A Cincinnati firefighter is accused of violently attacking three Xavier University students at The Banks.

Cincinnati police arrested Justin Bancroft, 27, at his Cheviot home Monday on two counts of felonious assault and one count of assault.

According to his arrest slip, Bancroft punched the students at 10:19 p.m. on Aug. 24 in the street at 161 E. Freedom Way.

Bancroft caused serious injuries to two of the victims, the report states, by hitting them in the face.

Ciaran Burk lost consciousness and suffered a concussion, facial fractures, black and swollen left eye and a black right eye, according to the report.

John Lannon suffered a broken upper left jaw, broken lower right jaw, structural damage to his teeth and a concussion, police wrote.

James Haney also had head and face injuries.

Bancroft did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

He has been a Cincinnati firefighter since June 26, 2016, said Cathy Ritter, a spokeswoman for the Cincinnati Fire Department.

Bancroft is currently assigned to the Truck 31 firehouse in Oakley, but now he is on unpaid leave in light of his arrest, she said.

The fire department also investigating the incident, she added.

A captain at Bancroft's firehouse on Marburg Avenue said he could not comment on that actions of one of his "brothers."

It is not clear what led up to the incident or if any other arrests were made.

On Friday morning, a judge set his bond at $125,000. The bond has been posted.

We asked Cincinnati police for more information and and public records related to the case, including the incident report.

We will update this story when they respond.

It's not clear why he was not held at the Hamilton County Justice Center after his arrest until he was arraigned before a judge.

Suspects charged with violent crimes such as felonious assault are almost always held at the jail until they appear in court, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

"Felonious assault is a serious charge. It's a felony of the second degree. It carries a sentence of two to eight years in prison," said Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg, a former prosecutor.

There are exceptions, but they are rare, he said.

"You would be brought in and taken to the jail, processed and held, but a cite is just a written piece of paper when to come back to court for arraignment," Greenberg said.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office runs the jail and is responsible for what goes on there.

A spokesman for the sheriff's office, David Daugherty, said Thursday they processed Bancroft at the jail by taking his mug shot and fingerprinting him on site Monday following his arrest.

Sheriff's officials permitted his release from their facility on two violent felony charges without arraignment first, Daugherty deflected questions about that Thursday to Cincinnati police, saying it was their decision.

We asked a spokesman for Cincinnati police to explain why they chose to cite Bancroft to court instead of holding him for arraignment.

If they respond, we will update our coverage.

His case will be heard by a grand jury on Sept. 9.

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