Warren County man sentenced for shooting a deputy at the door

A judge today sentenced a Deerfield Twp. man to 17 to 23 years in prison for the attempted murder of a Warren County sheriff’s deputy who was checking on the man’s welfare at the request of his family.

Lance Runion, 57, was scheduled to go to trial Monday, but opted to enter guilty pleas Aug. 19 in Warren County Common Pleas Court on the first-degree felony charges of attempted aggravated murder; attempted murder; and felonious assault. All charges had accompanying seven-year and five-year firearm specifications.

Runion was sentenced to 10 to 15 years for the attempted aggravated murder of Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Sara Vaught, plus seven years for mandatory gun specifications.

The snowy February encounter was captured on a doorbell camera that showed the deputy being shot at as well as returning fire.

In court Monday, prosecutors played a video of the encounter in which Runion could be seen opening the door and saying to Vaught, “You’re dead.”

He fired, and deputies returned fire, wounding Runion.

He admitted responsibility and apologized to the deputy.

Vaught, who has returned to work, said she was still healing from the encounter, which she said was a nightmare scenario for an officer and that if not for a few inches, she would not be here today.

In August, Common Pleas Judge Timothy N. Tepe accepted Runion’s guilty pleas and entered findings of guilty to the charges. Runion had previously entered not guilty pleas to the charges in April.

On Feb. 15, Warren County Communications received a 911 call from Runion’s brother and dispatched Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputies to Runion’s residence at 7831 Hunt Club Drive in Deerfield Twp.

Deputies knocked on Runion’s front door multiple times, attempting to check on his safety. Ultimately, when Vaught arrived on Runion’s front porch, Runion opened his front door and immediately fired a Ruger LCP 9mm handgun directly at Vaught. Vaught was not struck and returned fire, striking and disabling Runion.

Runion was taken to an area hospital to recover from his wounds and other injuries before taken into custody in the Warren County Jail.

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