By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — An Ohio man will serve four years on probation after an officer-involved shooting in 2019.
Dale Ray Harner, 31, Paulding, Ohio, was charged with intimidation with a deadly weapon, a level 5 felony; and possession of methamphetamine, a level 6 felony. Three additional criminal charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Harner pled guilty but mentally ill to the charges and was sentenced on Monday, Nov. 21.
For intimidation, Kosciusko Superior Court One Judge Karin McGrath sentenced Harner to four years at the Indiana Department of Correction, all suspended on probation. Harner also received a two-year DoC sentence for methamphetamine possession, which was also suspended on probation. Both counts will be served at the same time.
McGrath showed no objection to Harner’s probation being transferred to the state of Ohio. A no-contact order between Harner and a victim remains in effect.
According to court documents, in February 2019, officers went to serve an arrest warrant on Harner at a Syracuse residence. During their interaction, Harner held a handgun and pointed it at officers. A Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office deputy fired two shots at Harner. Both shots missed Harner, who dropped the firearm.
In the area where Harner was arrested, officers found a plastic bag containing methamphetamine. During an interview with Indiana State Police, Harner admitted to using methamphetamine and said the handgun he had was a BB gun.
At sentencing, Defense Attorney Bart Arnold and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Sobek focused on Harner’s mental health. Arnold said he submitted years of mental health records to the court as part of Harner’s sentencing memorandum.
“His only goal was harming himself, not others,” said Arnold about the incident.
“This situation could’ve turned out very different and thankfully, everyone made it out safe,” said Sobek.
Arnold also noted the positive efforts Harner has made for himself and others, reflecting on Harner creating a club for those with disabilities at his school.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity,” said Harner. “I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and it’s paid off.”
Harner told McGrath he is employed and has also been doing some work with Habitat For Humanity.
“This positive change, I don’t see that very often,” said McGrath. “I’m glad you are here and doing better.”
A restitution hearing for damages the home sustained through Harner’s actions was scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 11.
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