Chris Heben, a 44-year-old former Navy SEAL and prominent conservative commentator for Fox News and CNN, claimed in March that he was shot in the gut by three black men in a car who yelled, "You got a big mouth, white boy!" then opened fire outside a Bath Township, Ohio, grocery store. But it now appears that Heben, for some reason made the whole thing up, according to police evidence.
The one part of the story that was not a lie, according to Bath Township police, is the part about getting shot. Heben was indeed shot in the abdomen on March 28. But who shot him, why and where, investigators say they have no idea. That's a question for Heben, they said Wednesday.
"All we know is that it didn't happen in our township," said Bath Township Police Chief Michael McNeely.
Heben was charged in Akron Municipal Court with obstructing police business and falsifying a report. Both charges are misdemeanors, with top penalties of nine months in jail and a fine of $1,750. As of Thursday, Heben had not issued a comment on the charges.
At the time, Heben told police — and repeated to numerous media outlets — a wild and infuriating story about an altercation with three African-American men who backed into his car in the parking lot of Mustard Seed Market and Café in Bath.
Heben said he yelled at the men and they shouted profanities in his direction. But when he returned to his car they opened fire on him, shouting, "You got a big mouth, white boy! You need to learn some f****** respect!"
But that wasn't all. Heben said that despite bleeding from the bullet wound, he jumped into his car and chased the shooters. But he lost them as they turned onto a freeway, after which Heben pulled into a fire station and passed out.
McNeely said that after a five-month investigation, however, police found that surveillance cameras at the market showed no sign of Heben, and his cell phone call logs placed him elsewhere at the time he said the shooting happened. Investigators failed to turn up any witnesses to corroborate the tale told by Heben, but the Fox News commentator continued to lie to them as the investigation went on, police said.
Earlier this year, Heben made national news with his claim that United States power grid could be destroyed in "amazingly easy" fashion by terrorists.
Chris Heben served as a Navy SEAL between 1998 and 2006, but shortly after resuming civilian life in 2007, he pleaded no contest to charges that he forged prescription for anabolic steroids for himself and his friends. Heben said in 2008 that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from his combat duty with the Navy SEALs.