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Suspect indicted after allegedly exchanging gunfire with police at Kroger grocery store: Prosecutor


(CINCINNATI) — Joseph Van Niman was indicted on Friday after allegedly exchanging gunfire with police at a Kroger grocery store just outside of Cincinnati earlier in the week.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers announced 12 felony charges against Van Niman. If convicted, he faces a maximum possible sentence of 76 to 81.5 years in prison.

Authorities were dispatched to the Kroger on Springdale Road just before 4 p.m. ET Wednesday following a report of “shots fired,” according to the Colerain Police Department in Colerain Township, Ohio.

He was indicted for attempted murder and felonious assault, among other charges.

Officers observed “what they believed to be a narcotics transaction,” and began following Van Niman as he crossed the street to the Kroger parking lot, according to the indictment.

Upon verbal cues from officers, the indictment alleges Van Niman turned toward officers with a firearm “and took a shooting stance.”

Van Niman ran into the grocery store and allegedly began exchanging gunfire with the officers. While attempting to back deeper into the store, Van Niman was shot and “fell to the ground,” according to the indictment.

After various early and conflicting reports from police, law enforcement ultimately confirmed that one bystander had been injured in the gunfire exchange between the suspect and police, Colerain Township Police Chief Ed Cordie told reporters Wednesday night.

Officers rendered medical assistance to a bystander who was struck by shrapnel during the exchange of gunfire.

“To everyone who was present at the store that day, my heart breaks for you. No one should fear for their safety going out to buy groceries,” Powers said in the indictment.

The Kroger location was shutdown following the incident.

“We’re making sure everything is processed correctly before allowing people back in,” Colerain Police Department PIO Jim Love said Wednesday afternoon, adding, “The store’s cameras will be crucial for the investigation.”

Love noted that the Springfield Road Kroger location is one of the busiest in the township, saying, “To have shots fired in the middle of the day here is a big deal.”

“This defendant tried to take an officer’s life; we’re going to make sure his life ends in a prison cell,” the indictment read.

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