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View Full Version : Columbus teen shot in head senselessly at "haunted" house



savafan
08-30-2006, 03:52 AM
Story 1
http://www.dispatch.com/emailme/emailme.php?story=dispatch/2006/08/24/20060824-A1-02.html

Theodore Decker , Kevin Kidder and Encarnacion Pyle
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Teens throughout Worthington had heard the stories about the home by the cemetery, hidden in a tangle of trees, bushes and weeds, with trails snaking out from the door and around the house. "Its haunted," some said. "Crazy people live there." And one of the favorites: "Theyre witches."

Police learned only yesterday of those stories and the youthful dares of teens driving to the house at 141 Sharon Springs Dr.

But none of those tales involved a man with a gun.

Late Tuesday night, the homegrown scary tale turned to real horror. Five thrill-seeking girls set to begin their senior year at Thomas Worthington High School on Friday ran afoul of an armed resident of the home, leaving 17-year-old Rachel Barezinsky critically injured by gunfire, police said.

Allen S. Davis, a 40-year-old man who lives at the house with his mother, said during a jailhouse interview that he was defending his home.

He admitted opening fire from his first-floor bedroom window after hearing the girls outside around 10 p.m. He said he repeatedly fired shots from a .22-caliber rifle.

"Did they threaten me?" he said. "No.

"I didnt know what their weaponry was, what their intentions were," he said. "In a situation like that, you assume the worst-case scenario if youre going to protect your family from a possible home invasion and murder."

Police said the girls were mischievous, but they werent even close to the house and hadnt harassed Davis or his mother, Sondra, when he opened fire.

"Its just a kid thing," said Worthington Police Lt. J. Douglas Francis. "Unfortunately, this time it had some bad ramifications."

Barezinsky was struck twice, in the upper body and head, police said. She remained in critical condition at Ohio State University Medical Center, where she had surgery yesterday to reduce brain swelling.

The other girls with her, Margaret Hester, Tessa Acker, Rachel Breen and Una Hrnjak, werent hurt.

Davis, who police said had no criminal record, is charged with five counts of felonious assault. He was being held in the Franklin County jail pending an appearance in Municipal Court this morning.

Last night, several hundred of Barezinskys friends and family filled the football field of the high school, where they signed posters wishing her well and lighted candles.

Barezinskys mother, Amy Barezinsky, came directly from the hospital to talk to the crowd.

"Shes doing really well for someone who had that kind of trauma," said her mom, who is a nurse. "Im going to have to get on my knees and pray. Maybe you guys could do that, too."

Doctors have told the family that they are "cautiously optimistic" about Rachels recovery. She has squeezed her aunts hand and responded to doctors requests to wiggle her toes.

"Its just so senseless," said her aunt, Tina Wedebrook, who attended the vigil. "We need to focus our energy on healing Rachel. She is such a fighter, so full of energy."

Some of the girls who were in the car with Barezinsky also attended. Una Hrnjak broke down in tears after talking to the assembled crowd. "This is so hard to do," Hrnjak said. "Shes fighting so hard for all of us and for herself."

Lt. Francis gave this account of what happened Tuesday night:

The girls had gone to the Walnut Grove Cemetery for "ghosting," which amounts to teens trying to scare one another. The girls told police that the Davis house, right across the street, is known among local kids as the "spooky house."

"They dare each other to walk into the property," Francis said, saying this week was the first police had heard of the practice because the Davises had never filed a complaint.

Two of the girls stayed in the car while the other three started up the concrete walk to the Davis home. They didnt get far before turning around.

"One of the girls honked the horn to scare them," Francis said.

After they all were back in the car, the girls heard what they thought were firecrackers, but was gunfire instead. They made the mistake of circling the block, Francis said.

Davis said he fired again as they returned.

"To the best of my knowledge, that did the trick," he said. His mother, he said, was asleep upstairs, and he didnt learn hed hit someone until police arrived later.

Police said no one got out of the car the second time the girls drove past. They discovered that Barezinsky, in the front passenger seat, was shot as they drove off. The panicked girls headed for N. High Street, where they found police.

When Rachel Breen called saying, "Mom, Im all right but ..." Kathy Breen assumed she had wrecked the car.

"Instead, she said Rachel got shot," said Mrs. Breen, of Worthington. "I thought, This cant be. This is Worthington. Those things dont happen here.

"All the kids talked about an old lady a witch living there," she said. "Theyre good kids. They didnt ring the doorbell or knock on the window. They had just taken a few steps on the property when they ran back to the car."

Sam Steiner, a friend, called Barezinsky the "typical, upbeat, lots of fun, always-smiling cheerleader-type." Indeed, shes a member of the Cardinals cheerleading squad.

Davis, who said he is a selfemployed writer, said he and his mother had put up with mischief for months. Teens would bang on their windows and doors, shout and cause a ruckus, he said.

"The main goal was to drive these people off and to teach them to stop coming and harassing and trespassing," he said of shooting out of his window.

"I regret that (Barezinsky was shot)," he said. "However, I would ask, why was that teenage girl engaging in delinquent behavior?"

He said he and his mother didnt notify police of the ongoing harassment because of their poor relationship with the city.

Worthington officials have responded repeatedly to complaints about the property over the years, most recently when a picket fence collapsed and neighbors complained of overgrown shrubs. "They did the absolute minimum," said Don Phillips, the citys chief building inspector.

Diana Gilmore and her husband lived next door to the Davises for 18 years, until moving in April.

She said the few times Allen Davis came out to tend to the mass of vegetation growing around the house, "Hed swing that sickle like he was killing it."

Her 33-year-old daughter, Melissa, said that even when she was a teen, she joked with her siblings that the grayhaired Sondra Davis was a witch. The large black caldron Davis used as a planter in the front yard, made the story perfect, she said.

The caldron is still on the property, obscured by brush but visible to anyone who heads up the winding dirt trail that leads to Davis front door.

One sign on the trail warns, "Enter at your own risk. Falling walnuts." Posted on the front door is another that reads, "Armed response." But the door, along with most of the house, cant be seen from the street.

Sondra Davis remained in her home yesterday but would not comment.

From jail, her son laughed at the legend that had brought five girls to his home.

"Wow, a haunted house, huh?

"Wow."

Story 2
http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/teen-shot-in-head-at-haunted-house/20060824130509990005

By RACHEL HOAG, AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Aug. 24) - The father of a 17-year-old girl who was shot in the head while ghost hunting with friends said Friday that the group had been out for harmless fun.

"It doesn't make any sense. These were five good kids and this was something they've done in the past," Greg Barezinsky said.

Rachel Barezinsky was injured Tuesday night when a man who lives in a house considered spooky by local teenagers shot at the carload of five girls, police said.

Barezinsky, a high school senior whose classmates started classes Friday, remained in critical condition, the family said. She remained on a breathing machine and neck brace but was able to give a "thumbs up" sign, they said.

"It's going to be a long haul," Greg Barezinsky said. "It's going to take time."

The girls and other high school students have gone out to cemeteries to hunt for ghosts before, Greg Barezinsky said at Ohio State University Medical Center.

Family members said they did not want to discuss the felonious assault charges against Allen S. Davis, 40, who lives in the house with his mother.

Davis' home, across from a cemetery and overgrown with trees and weeds, had a reputation among local teens for being haunted. Students at Thomas Worthington High School in suburban Columbus had been daring each other to knock on the door or go in the yard, police Lt. Doug Francis said.

Three of the girls had gotten out of the car and taken a few steps onto Davis' property, but then jumped back in and circled the block. Barezinsky was struck while sitting in the car as it passed the house again.

Davis has told reporters he fired from his bedroom window to scare away trespassers and didn't mean to hurt the girls. He told officers he was aiming for the car's tires. He called the girls juvenile delinquents and said they shouldn't have been on his property.

He told reporters Wednesday he had prepared the rifle after numerous instances of trespassing.

"It's really something how homeowners defend themselves and the way the laws are written, we're the ones brought up on charges while the perpetrators get little or nothing," Davis said.

Francis said Davis told investigators he had never called police about any problems with trespassers.

Unassisted
08-30-2006, 10:11 AM
I've been following this story in the news there. At first, I was sympathetic with the kids until it came out that the property owner felt threatened by the repeated harassment from high school kids. (They'd been ringing his doorbell late at night and moving items around on his porch.) His course of action was wrong and he deserves to be punished.

But it also bothers me how the community there is rallying around the girl when it was her actions that put her into the situation to get shot. She was a prominent cheerleader at the school and her high school football team all wore stickers on their helmets with her initials at last Friday's game. Community support may help her recovery, but I think that because of the circumstances of her injury that she doesn't deserve to be placed on a pedestal. I would far rather read that the school had an assembly to discuss the dangers of late-night trespassing than see this kind of response.

HumnHilghtFreel
08-30-2006, 10:20 AM
^^ I think that a mixture of both things would be more appropriate. I have no problem with them rallying around her because, while she did put herself in the situation, I just think it's necessary to do whatever you can to raise spirits and if they think that what they're doing will help with that, then so be it. But at the same time they should also make everyone aware of just why it did happen and the "tradition" they carried on is something that should stop.

registerthis
08-30-2006, 10:50 AM
Huh, growing up in Worthington I know exactly where that house is. I never heard any haunted tales about it, though. Maybe they didn't live there when I was around.

The kids shouldn't have been messing around on his property, but randomly discharging a firearm towards a car filled with people is just never acceptable. Interesting that they had never called the police, despite the claims of repeated harassment.

savafan
08-30-2006, 10:55 AM
Interesting that they had never called the police, despite the claims of repeated harassment.

That's one red flag right there.

Another would be that the girls took a few steps on his yard, then got back into the car and drove away. It was only when they circled back past the house that he opened fire.

westofyou
08-30-2006, 11:47 AM
Jem: Well, for one thing, he has a boy named Boo that he keeps chained to a bed in the house over yonder. Boo only comes out at night when you're asleep and it's pitch-dark. When you wake up at night, you can hear him. Once I heard him scratchin' on our screen door, but he was gone by the time Atticus got there.

RedsBaron
08-30-2006, 12:13 PM
I'm not going to defend the teenagers, other than to admit I did similar things when I was their age. I was struck by what appears to be the utter lack of remorse by the shooter. Whatever else happens, he is one guy who should never be allowed access to a firearm.

registerthis
08-30-2006, 12:16 PM
I was struck by what appears to be the utter lack of remorse by the shooter. Whatever else happens, he is one guy who should never be allowed access to a firearm.

Second that. At the very least, he could have shown some remorse for shooting the girl. Instead, he sounds as if he'd do it again if given the chance.

Falls City Beer
08-30-2006, 01:02 PM
Why is the author of this article so averse to the use of apostrophes?

LoganBuck
08-30-2006, 01:12 PM
Just wanted to add that I heard a little about this on 610 out of Columbus. Apparently this guy has mental issues, and is a curmudgeon. The whole family has "mental challenges". Teenagers have been messing with this place for years. People even called in and told stories about ringing the door bell and running away, and this was years ago. These kids did not need to be shot, but this would all have been avoided if these kids had followed the golden rule: Do unto others, as you would have done to you.

BuckU
08-30-2006, 02:22 PM
Just wanted to add that I heard a little about this on 610 out of Columbus. Apparently this guy has mental issues, and is a curmudgeon. The whole family has "mental challenges". Teenagers have been messing with this place for years. People even called in and told stories about ringing the door bell and running away, and this was years ago. These kids did not need to be shot, but this would all have been avoided if these kids had followed the golden rule: Do unto others, as you would have done to you.

Then he should have reported the harassment to the police...

In addition, this is the shooter...

dabvu2498
08-30-2006, 02:40 PM
PS: The third name on the byline for this story is the best ever.

savafan
08-30-2006, 02:46 PM
http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d134/savafan/20060824-Pc-A4-0800.jpg
The house

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d134/savafan/20060825093009990026.jpg
The shooter

http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d134/savafan/20060825092409990001.jpg
The victim

bucksfan
08-30-2006, 03:01 PM
I'm not going to defend the teenagers, other than to admit I did similar things when I was their age. I was struck by what appears to be the utter lack of remorse by the shooter. Whatever else happens, he is one guy who should never be allowed access to a firearm.

Yeah, I agree there. The kids definitely should not trespassing on someone else's property, especially knowing people live there. It is wrong to be on soemone else's property, whether it is inhabited or not. But the possible perception by the owners that they could get hurt by trespassers is all the more reason to not do this.

Obviously shooting at someone in the situation as described in this horrible case, is incredibly bad judgement and he should be punished for it. Adding in the history and personalities behind the story and I see some serious punishment for the guy.

I do know I'd be extremely nervous and agitated about someone being on my property without my permission, noting of course that we do not have a history of having a haunted house or any other such attraction that could draw people there. Since we live in the country with the nearest neighbors 1/2 mile away, this type of thing would really set us on edge, though of course all due discretion and care would be used before anything beyond yelling and waving my fist would be employed!

I must say I felt like bringing out my shotgun one time when I had some incredibly aggressive sales people badgering me and they just wouldn't leave. I am putting up a "no soliciting" sign to see if that can help dissuade these people. I later read an article in the local paper warning residents about this exact thing. All I know is I was glad my wife was not home alone with our daughter when they came. I guess such is the life when you live out here, but it seems nowadays they have me more on edge than ever. I guess I am getting old.

savafan
08-30-2006, 03:04 PM
Yeah, I agree there. The kids definitely should not trespassing on someone else's property, especially knowing people live there. It is wrong to be on soemone else's property, whether it is inhabited or not. But the possible perception by the owners that they could get hurt by trespassers is all the more reason to not do this.



How many gangs of cheerleaders do we hear about attacking people in their homes?

RedsBaron
08-30-2006, 03:28 PM
How many gangs of cheerleaders do we hear about attacking people in their homes?

When I was a teenage boy I dreamed of that very thing.:evil:

ochre
08-30-2006, 03:32 PM
When I was a teenage boy I dreamed of that very thing.:evil:
I believe there's an entire cottage web industry built around that premise as well.

Red Leader
08-30-2006, 04:36 PM
How many gangs of cheerleaders do we hear about attacking people in their homes?

I do not defend the shooter in this case at all, but it's hard for him to make the assumption that this is a gang of cheerleaders he's dealing with.

They shouldn't have been there, he doesn't have the right to shoot at them. Both people were at fault here, IMO.

I wish and pray for the girls recovery.

Crash Davis
08-30-2006, 05:15 PM
Jem: Well, for one thing, he has a boy named Boo that he keeps chained to a bed in the house over yonder. Boo only comes out at night when you're asleep and it's pitch-dark. When you wake up at night, you can hear him. Once I heard him scratchin' on our screen door, but he was gone by the time Atticus got there.

Good call. The similarities are eerie indeed.

I don't know how you can read that story and not think of Boo Radley.

bucksfan
08-30-2006, 05:33 PM
How many gangs of cheerleaders do we hear about attacking people in their homes?

I imagine the girls were not in their cheerleader outfits. And not everyone can tell who it is trespassing on their property from their house. This is precisely why one should not shoot at them in these instances and also precisely why one should not be trespassing, as someone, whether out of fear or out of sheer craziness (seemingly this case), may overreact.

pray the girl gets better. As far as doing something she should not have been doing, I admit to doing many things worse than that. A shooting was definitely not the justifiable "price" for her indiscretion to be sure, but has ended up being the price sadly.

registerthis
08-30-2006, 06:55 PM
I believe there's an entire cottage web industry built around that premise as well.

I paid good money to have that happen once...

registerthis
08-30-2006, 06:57 PM
They shouldn't have been there, he doesn't have the right to shoot at them. Both people were at fault here, IMO.

Yes, but I think the argument being made is that the response to the action was disproportionate to the action itself. This isn't a "6 to 1, half a dozen the other" situation--unless one equates trespass with firing a shotgun into a car full of people.

True, the girls were wrong to be doing what they were doing...but their sin pales in comparison to the response of the apparently mentally-challenged individual.

Doc. Scott
08-30-2006, 07:13 PM
That's one heck of a haircut on Allen, there.

Crash Davis
08-30-2006, 07:25 PM
That's one heck of a haircut on Allen, there.

I hear he and Bud Selig share a barber.

savafan
08-31-2006, 04:19 AM
I think we're still failing to see the fact that he didn't shoot at them while they were trespassing on his property, he fired the gun when they were in the car leaving the scene.

Danny Serafini
08-31-2006, 10:48 AM
I think we're still failing to see the fact that he didn't shoot at them while they were trespassing on his property, he fired the gun when they were in the car leaving the scene.

After they had circled around and made a second visit. In this guy's mind he probably figured they were coming back to cause more trouble. Not excusing this guy for firing a weapon, but these girls were being dumb.

HotCorner
08-31-2006, 02:24 PM
After they had circled around and made a second visit. In this guy's mind he probably figured they were coming back to cause more trouble. Not excusing this guy for firing a weapon, but these girls were being dumb.

They didn't make a second visit.

Danny Serafini
08-31-2006, 02:29 PM
From the article:

"After they all were back in the car, the girls heard what they thought were firecrackers, but was gunfire instead. They made the mistake of circling the block, Francis said.

Davis said he fired again as they returned."

savafan
08-31-2006, 02:32 PM
From the article:

"After they all were back in the car, the girls heard what they thought were firecrackers, but was gunfire instead. They made the mistake of circling the block, Francis said.

Davis said he fired again as they returned."

They were trying to leave

Danny Serafini
08-31-2006, 02:38 PM
I don't see how you can infer they were trying to leave from the article. If they were trying to leave they wouldn't have driven back past the house they were leaving.

savafan
09-01-2006, 04:16 AM
I don't see how you can infer they were trying to leave from the article. If they were trying to leave they wouldn't have driven back past the house they were leaving.

You drive off, facing the wrong direction. You turn around to go back the way you came. You have to pass by where you were just at to go back.