Shooting of Ashland County homeowner could be tied to string of ATV thefts

SULLIVAN TWP., Ohio – An Ashland County man was shot after deputies said he interrupted a burglary at his home. The shooter remained at large, and investigators said the incident could be tied to a string of ATV thefts in the county.

Relatives of 58-year-old Doug Roberts said he was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit after being shot in his back. The shooting happened outside of his home on U.S. 224 around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

The victim’s wife, Kathy Roberts, said the family’s dogs woke her and she noticed their outdoor security lights were out.

She said she and Doug grabbed flashlights and walked outside to investigate when they found an ATV and hunting equipment pulled from their garage onto their driveway.

As they were walking toward their barn to see why its door was opened, she said Doug was shot.

“We heard ‘bang, bang,’ and my husband turned around and I turned around,” she told a 911 dispatcher. “We were trying to figure out where it came from.”

Deputies said the couple did not see the shooter and a K9 lost track of a possible suspect scent near Route 681, east of the home.

Investigators did not have a suspect description and did not yet know how many people may have been involved.

Black River Local Schools, located about seven miles from the scene, posted on Facebook that the district took extra precautions to keep students safe, including limiting movement throughout the district Tuesday.

Deputies said investigators are examining whether the incident could be tied to a string of ATV thefts across Ashland County over the last three weeks.

Chief Deputy Carl Richert, with the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, encouraged residents to remain vigilant and to first call law enforcement if anything appears suspicious.

“Call law enforcement; let us take care of it. We can get there. We have lights; we have more people coming, so let us do it,” Richert said. “You stay in your house and be safe.”