On Aug. 31, 2020, Middletown Police Sgt. Dennis Jordan was with his K-9 partner preparing for a training session when a pursuit began for a suspect under surveillance in the city. Minutes later he was on the ground in the yard of a Warren County residence shot twice.
Jordan and suspect Christopher J. Hubbard were shot shortly before 5 p.m. after the chase that began in the area of 18th Avenue in Middletown and ended in the 2600 block of Mason-Montgomery Road in Turtlecreek Twp.
After pandemic delays coupled with expert issues and legal maneuvering continued the trial several times, Hubbard’s trial began Tuesday in Warren County Common Pleas Judge Tim Tepe’s courtroom.
Hubbard, now 38, was indicted Dec. 21, 2020 by a Warren County grand jury for attempted murder and felonious assault for allegedly shooting Jordan; attempted aggravated murder and felonious assault for allegedly shooting at Butler County Sheriff’s deputy Mike Barger; and attempted aggravated murder and felonious assault for allegedly shooting at Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Brett Lee. The charges contain gun specifications that add to a sentence if Hubbard is found guilty.
Hubbard is also charged with two counts of having weapons under disability, failure to comply, improper handling of a firearms in a motor vehicle and a second-degree misdemeanor charge of assaulting a police dog.
Jordan’s dog, Koda, attempted to apprehend Hubbard while he sat in the car. The police dog was not hit by gunfire. Jordan, shot in the shoulder and finger.
An investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Investigation indicated Hubbard shot first, striking Jordan, and that eight officers returned fire.
Defense attorneys say Hubbard acted in self-defense when the pursuit triggered his PTSD and he was attempting to shoot the police dog as it lunged into the window of his car because he was in fear for his life.
Jordan, who has recovered from wounds to his hand and shoulder, testified Wednesday, describing being hit as feeling like an invisible man punched him.
He said he knew Hubbard was wanted on a warrant and had indicated to a probation officer and family that he “would not go back to prison and would shootout with police.”
Jordan heard radio traffic that Hubbard was on the move in a car driving on Ohio 4 out of Middletown when he loaded up Koda and got into a police cruiser to assist, anticipating a SWAT operation may be needed.
Hubbard was wanted for probation violations and for questioning in a Hamilton unsolved homicide, according to court testimony.
Jordan said he spotted Hubbard’s vehicle near Tractor Supply in Liberty Twp. where he attempted to strike another cruiser head-on. Jordan joined in the pursuit when Hubbard flipped around an headed back north eventually traveling onto Kyle Station Road and into Warren County.
“I was fourth in the pack with three Butler County Sheriff’s Office cruisers,” Jordan said. He intended to pull off the pursuit until an attempt to stop Hubbard with Stop Sticks was unsuccessful and the vehicle nearly hit a residence on Mason-Montgomery Road.
“I thought he was going to crash into the house, bail and run into the house,” Jordan said.
Jordan said he saw Hubbard put his hands the window of the car briefly and the pull them back in.
“He was sticking hands out for a second, and rolling windows backup. Did that several times,” Jordan said, adding he saw phone in one of Hubbard’s hands.
“At one point we were were told he just wanted to make one more phone call,” Jordan said. But Hubbard did not respond to repeated command to surrender, even when told the dog would be deployed.
Jordan said a plan was devised to shoot the window out of the vehicle with a bean bag rifle and send his dog in to make the apprehension.
“I saw the window shatter, splinter. Then he (the police dog) knocks the rest out,” Jordan said. That’s when Jordan said he made a tactical error and stood up to get a better vantage point of where Koda was and what he was doing.
Jordan said he did not have his weapon drawn and on that day and he was not driving the usual SUV assigned to him.
“I didn’t have enough cover. I was in a Crown Vic,” Jordan said. And he was struck by bullets.
“My best explanation of it is it felt like the invisible man standing in front of me punching me as hard as he could right in my left shoulder,” Jordan said. “Then a tug in my right thigh. And I heard rapid gunfire.”
Jordan said he was on the ground doing his own assessment of his condition moving hands and toes, then looking for blood loss in his thigh.
“I wasn’t paralyzed. I realized there wasn’t bunch of blood ... I was okay,” Jordan said.
A bullet went through Jordan’s shoulder and his thigh holster took the bullet that then sliced open his hand. Recovery took about three to four months.
During cross examination, Jordan was asked if he saw Hubbard trying to surrender.
“He was faking compliance,” Jordan said. “He had had plenty of time to comply at that point. It was a 28-mile pursuit. He had plenty of time to make one more phone call.”
Officers then returned fire, deploying nearly 60 rounds. Hubbard was shot 15 times. Two guns, one jammed, were found in the car with Hubbard.
Prosecutors said the five-second incident was played for the jury. Ballistics experts from BCI also testified. The prosecution rested Thursday morning and Hubbard was expected to take the stand Thursday afternoon.