Ohio Community Rallies Around Wildlife Investigator After Being Shot by Poachers

by Suzanne Halliburton
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An Ohio community is rallying behind a state investigator who has been in ICU for the last three weeks. Authorities believe poachers shot the officer while he was working undercover.

Kevin Behr, a 25-year veteran of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, has endured seven surgeries as doctors repair his injuries from the bullet wounds. Behr was working undercover, investigating poachers in the area. The incident happened Dec. 20 on private property in Clinton County, outside Cincinnati. First responders air-lifted Behr to a local hospital.

Three people face charges. According to court documents, the charges for the alleged poachers range from hunting without a license, aiding an offender and possessions of weapons under disability.

Investigator of Poachers Gave Thumbs Up From Hospital

The Behr family released a photo of Behr in his hospital bed. He was awake and giving a thumbs up to the camera.

“It wasn’t an accident,” said Chris Gilkey, a vice president of a local Fraternal Order of the Police lodge. “They purposely made the decision to pull the trigger. That negligence resulted in an officer getting shot.”

“(Officers) put their life on the line to protect a resource that can’t defend itself, and that’s what (Behr) was doing that day,” Gilkey said.

Gilkey said he told the family the community is behind them. Another lodge is raising money to help with hotel costs for the family.

“The encouraging thumbs up picture that we got … makes everyone feel better when everyone sees those pictures,” Gilkey said. “They know he’s fighting. He’s scrapping.”

Behr started working with the Ohio Division of Wildlife in 1993. He’s a long-time investigator for the southwest Ohio region. He also worked on projects for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Division.

His wife also works for the Division of Wildlife. They married in 1996. They’re parents of three children.

If you’d like to donate to a fundraiser for Behr, click here.

For Outsider coverage on topics of poaching, check out this story about a poaching ring in Pennsylvania.

Outsider.com