Canal Fulton officer speaks out on shooter’s parole eligibility

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CANAL FULTON, O.H. -- Officer Ed Harbaugh has been patrolling the streets of Canal Fulton since 1984. In 1995 he had a wife, Jennifer, and two small girls. On April 3rd of that year the job nearly killed him when he went to arrest Christopher Monihan for writing bad checks.

“We ended up getting into a little bit of a scuffle he ended up with my gun and I didn’t have one so then he started shooting,” Harbaugh remembered.

Monihan shot him four times at close range. Doctors got three of the bullets out of Harbaugh, but decades later one is still lodged in his lung.

“Every time those sirens went off my heart dropped because I didn’t know if he was going to be coming home or not,” said Jennifer Harbaugh, Harbaugh’s wife of more than 30 years.

That fear is made more real recently for Jennifer because Monihan is eligible for parole in February.

“It’s the potential harm he could do to other officers, to other citizens and it’s just not fair,” she said.

Now the Canal Fulton Police Department and the Harbaugh family are asking for the public to help them convince the parole board that Monihan should serve his entire sentence and be denied parole.

“He’s only served 23 years, his max is 50, so he’s only served the robbery charge and the gun charge. He has not yet served for assault on a police officer,” she explained.

The department put out a plea on social media asking their Facebook friends to comment online or send a letter to the parole board against Monihan’s release.

“I’m so grateful for those people who have supported us and who continue to support us,” Harbaugh said.

The Harbaugh family says they want to send a message to anyone who thinks going after a cop is not an extremely serious offense.

“If you’re going to attack a police officer or shoot a police officer or anything like that, then you are going to get the maximum sentence. You know, you’re going to spend the majority of your life in jail,” Officer Harbaugh said.

“I want Monihan to be the poster child of if you shoot an officer, you will serve your time,” Harbaugh added.

Those wishing to have their voice heard on the subject can comment on the Canal Fulton Police Facebook page or they can send an email to DRC.Victim.Services@ODRC.state.oh.us or a letter to Ohio Parole Board, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43222.

Monihan’s offender number is A310612 and must be included on any correspondence.