(MOUNT VERNON) This week, the Knox County Grand Jury reviewed two cases involving lethal use of force by law enforcement and in both cases decided that the use of force was justified in self-defense or defense of others.
Both cases arose in August 2022, and were investigated by Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, an agency of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
In August, Randy Wilhelm had a warrant for failure to appear in Common Pleas Court on a pending felony case. His bond had been revoked by the court and bail bondsmen and law enforcement were searching for him. On August 19, 2022, a bail bondsman pursuing Wilhelm followed his brother Bradley Wilhelm to the Wilhelm property on Gilchrist Road in Monroe Township. The bondsman’s truck was shot multiple times by someone on the Wilhelm property using a rifle.
The bondsman reported the incident to local law enforcement, who requested assistance from several area agencies, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Unit. A State Highway Patrol helicopter equipped with infrared cameras began to fly over the Wilhelm property. The aviation officers recorded shots being fired from the property at the helicopter by two subjects on the ground. The aviation units provided reconnaissance while law enforcement units from other agencies arrived to assist in apprehending Wilhelm.
On the morning of August 20, at the request of the Knox County Tactical Response Unit, several agencies supplied officers and armored vehicles to the effort, including the Delaware Tactical Unit, ASORT, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Marysville Police Department, the Westerville Police Department and the Dublin Police Department. After attempting to make contact with Randy Wilhelm by various means, law enforcement units entered the property pursuant to a search warrant for Wilhelm and contraband firearms.
Shortly after 9 a.m., officers in armored vehicles approached Randy Wilhelm’s home on Monroe Mills Road, after aviation units informed them that Randy and Bradley Wilhelm had been spotted at the house. An armored vehicle went behind the house and was fired upon multiple times by a person later identified as Randy Wilhelm, disabling the vehicle. A second armored vehicle in the driveway of the house was fired upon by Randy Wilhelm, compromising the bulletproof glass in the windshield.
Moments later Bradley and Randy Wilhelm sped out of Randy’s driveway in an off-road vehicle, heading across fields toward their mother’s home on Gilchrist Road. They encountered law enforcement officers from the Delaware Tactical Unit and others who were attempting to safely remove Saundra Wilhelm from the property.
Both brothers were shot multiple times by the officers when Randy, who was holding a rifle, began to raise it. Bradley, who was driving the off-road vehicle, had a shotgun next to him and several shotgun shells in his pocket. A significant quantity of rifle ammunition was discovered in the back of the vehicle.
Five law enforcement officers, none from Knox County departments, fired shots in the incident. The officers are members of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Westerville Police Department and Dublin Police Department. Their actions were found to be justified by the Grand Jury.
On August 22, 2022, Knox County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call on Zuck Road in Butler Township. A 911 caller has reported that Elizabeth Delano had entered a property and she was under court order not to be present. When deputies arrived, they found that Delano was in the home by herself. In response to requests by law enforcement to come out of the house, she became combative and began firing a shotgun. She later emerged from the house with the shotgun and fired a total of six rounds, some of them aimed in the direction of the deputies.
Delano was shot once by Dep. Michael Collins after ignoring a command to drop her shotgun and beginning to raise it again to a firing position. Dep. Collins’ use of force was found to be justified in self-defense and defense of the other deputies present.