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National
'Shovel girl' viral video triggers Ohio sheriff's probe
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'Shovel girl' viral video triggers Ohio sheriff's probe

Josh Officer is the young man who filmed and posted the video that went viral of a girl who was struck in the back of the head with a shovel during a fight with another girl.

'Shovel girl' viral video triggers Ohio sheriff's probe

A viral video some are calling the "Shovel girl video," which depicts a girl being struck in the head by a shovel during what appears to be a fight, has gained national attention for some Ohio teens and triggered a sheriff's investigation.

The Miami County, Ohio, sheriff's office is questioning the teens involved to determine if it was real or a hoax, Maj. Steve Lord said.

"It was a real fight," said Josh Officer, 14, of Tipp City, who recorded the May 4 incident with his cell phone. "People were thinking it was fake and stuff on the "Dr. Drew Show." It was completely real. (The girls in the video) have been wanting to fight for about a year now."

>>Video: Girl hit by shovel on "Dr. Drew" show (warning: graphic video)

It all started with a war of words between Miranda Fugate, of Vandalia, and Emily Olinger, of Bethel Twp., over a boy they know. Fugate, the girl hit by the shovel in the video, is in the Montgomery County Juvenile Justice Center for an unrelated incident. Fugate and Olinger are 14.

>>Video: Girl accused of throwing shovel in fight talks

Olinger said Thursday she is expected in court next week to learn if she'll face charges for hitting Fugate with the shovel.

The video shows the two girls fighting in what Officer said was Olinger's yard. Nearly seven minutes into the video, Fugate is seen chasing after Olinger, who is headed for a door to a house. Fugate stops and turns back when she sees that Olinger has a shovel in her hand. Fugate runs and Olinger hurls the shovel, hitting Fugate in the back of the head. Fugate then falls to the ground.

"I told her to leave again, and she refused, so then the first thing I saw was my shovel. I picked it up and then she said, 'OK, OK' and by the time she said she was done, I already hit her with it," Olinger said. "I've been bullied ever since I was in the fourth grade, and that's why I hit her with the shovel, because I'm tired of it."

Fugate, who is being referred to online as "Shovel Girl," eventually went to a hospital. She said the hit gave her a concussion, caused her to be deaf in one ear and she may need surgery.

"She was mad because she lost, in my opinion, and grabbed the shovel," Fugate said.

Lord said he viewed the video and called the content alarming.

"When we have these types of videos, we need to explore to make sure that they're authentic and not staged, as far as an investigation," he said, noting that anytime someone posts videos of themselves or others breaking the law, law enforcement officials will have a better chance to find out about the conduct.

A truancy officer in Miami County saw the video on Youtube and reported what he saw to the authorities. This resulted in a Bethel High School administrator reporting the incident to the sheriff's office on Monday.

After questioning the parties involved, the sheriff's office will decide whether to pursue charges with the prosecutor's office, according to Lord. "Anytime you're dealing with an assault that's potentially deadly, you run a risk. In this case, what the law is going to look at in Ohio is whether that injury is substantial physical harm or less than serious physical harm. If it's determined to be serious physical harm then that could be a felony," he said.

"Also, if you start hitting people in the head with a shovel, it can lead to death."

Martha Allison, asked for her reaction when she learned her son, Josh Officer, shot the video, said, "I felt like he was just a kid, doing what he does best. I don't think he had any feeling over it. I really haven't talked to him about it. We're just more or less excited about the notoriety and how it's gotten so big."

Officer said, "people are posting fights all the time on my Facebook, and that's why I recorded -- because I just wanted to be like everybody else, post a fight...watch it...get 50 likes or something like that. But it ended up being 82,000 likes and so on, and TMZ and MTV's calling me."

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