Ohio trooper gave teen murder suspects a ride to their next alleged crime scene, report says

Nathaniel Brunner

(CBS/AP) COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two teenagers charged in a pair of fatal shootings last week were given a ride to the scene of another non-fatal shooting Saturday by an Ohio state trooper who did not pat them down or check them for warrants after he found them walking along a highway ramp, authorities said.

The young men, ages 17 and 18, were charged Tuesday in the death of a teenager whose body was found last week on a sidewalk in Columbus, not far from the convenience store where they are accused of having killed a clerk a day earlier. They are also being questioned in a non-fatal shooting Saturday at a truck stop west of Columbus where the trooper dropped them off.

Sgt. Jeffrey Shane, a 29-year veteran of the State Patrol, has been placed on administrative desk duty during an internal investigation to determine whether he violated any policies, patrol Lt. Anne Ralston said.

Normal procedure calls for troopers to pat down anyone being given a courtesy ride in a patrol car and check their names for any outstanding warrants, but it appears that didn't happen, Ralston has said.

The suspects, Nathaniel Brunner, 18, of Columbus, and a 17-year-old, also from Columbus, were arrested Saturday in Dayton on warrants charging them with murder in the slaying of store clerk Imran Ashgar on Wednesday night.

They were charged Tuesday with murder in the slaying of Lamont Frazier, 17, Columbus police said. Police said Frazier's body was found early Thursday on a sidewalk in Columbus, a few hours after Ashgar was slain.

Court records don't show an attorney for Brunner, whose bail in the Ashgar case was set Tuesday at $1.5 million. It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors will seek to charge the 17-year-old as an adult.

The teens had been walking Saturday along a ramp at Route 42 and Interstate 70, the patrol division has said. Patrol log information released Tuesday notes Shane was with an abandoned car on the interstate about 2:06 a.m. Saturday and out with the suspects on the ramp about 2:12 a.m., dropping them off at the nearby truck stop a few minutes afterward.

The abandoned car appears to be the vehicle the suspects had been driving, Ralston confirmed Tuesday.

Authorities have said that the motorist wounded at the truck stop, identified by CBS affiliate WBNS as William Rudd, was shot in the head a little over two hours after Shane had dropped the suspects off. WBNS reports police say the two suspects wanted to steal the victim's car. Rudd is reportedly at Grant Medical Center in serious condition.

The teens were reportedly found sleeping in the stolen car behind a home in Dayton.

Messages left for the sheriff in Madison County, home to the truck stop, to determine whether charges had been filed in the shooting there were not returned.

WBNS reports police are also investigating to see whether the pair could be tied to several other homicides in Columbus. Police reportedly believe the 17-year-old may be involved in a July 22 murder of a 22-year-old man.