ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Bengals running back Joe Mixon's home was connected to a shooting that sent an Anderson High School student to the hospital late Monday night, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies responded to Ayers Road for the report of shots fired at around 8:30 p.m. Monday, according to a press release. Police said one juvenile was taken to the hospital with what the sheriff's office referred to as minor injuries.
In a letter to parents, Forest Hills School District said the juvenile injured was an Anderson High School student. The student, the district said, is OK and at home. The district is in contact with the sheriff's office in regard to its investigation.
Deputies were seen on the property where previous court documents say Mixon resides. Deputies could be heard yelling, "If you're inside, come on out."
It is unclear if the shooting took place at Mixon's home and whether Mixon was there; in a Tuesday press release, the sheriff's office said "a home connected to Bengals player Joe Mixon" was part of the crime scene.
The HCSO said deputies conducted a search warrant for a home on Ayers Road Monday night "and were able to gather evidence that will be part of this active investigation."
The press release said they plan to release a more comprehensive update on the investigation later in the week.
The night of the alleged shooting, a WCPO 9 crew on the scene saw deputies enter the home around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday with flashlights. Police tape was taken down from the property around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday morning. According to investigators, no arrests have been made.
Tracy Schaeper, who lives down the road, said she believes the shooting was a result of ongoing 'Nerf wars' between kids.
"They were playing Nerf wars and apparently went into one of the neighbors’ yards back here and that neighbor opened fire. That's what we believe to be true," she said.
During Nerf wars, kids run around and shoot each other with Nerf blasters, which have darts made of foam. Neighbors said they heard more than 10 gunshots, raising some concerns regarding their children's safety while playing.
"I understand if perhaps they were, you know, encroaching onto a neighbor's yard, absolutely tell them to get out of the yard," Schaeper said. "But to fire rounds in the dark at teenagers that are playing a game is very scary."
Other neighbors said they were shocked to hear what happened.
"It's hard to fathom. ... My wife was the first one that told me about it. She knows them and to that go through that — friends of my grandchildren, stuff like that. It just boggles your mind,” said Frank Minning, who also lives in the neighborhood. "You just don't understand how something like that can happen."
For years, WCPO has covered stories where both law enforcement and school districts across the Tri-State have warned families about the potential dangers of Nerf wars. In April 2014, then Lakota West High School principal Elgin Card sent an email to parents warning them about the potentially serious consequences the game could have.
"If kids are in cars chasing each other, and trying to shoot, waiting outside, hiding for kids, that could become a danger," said Card. "All I want is for our kids to be safe."
In April 2018, Blue Ash Police arrested two young men for disorderly conduct related to the game.
"Our officers go there, sometimes with guns drawn, if they think, if it's reported, that that person has a gun, it could become a potentially serious situation," said Lieutenant Roger Pohlman with Blue Ash police.
In April 2019, some in Hebron complained about Nerf wars getting out of control from some Conner High School students. Ray Hembree explained he found a student in the back of his truck.
"I asked him, 'What are you doing?' He explained we were playing dart wars," Hembree said. "I said, 'I understand that, but you're in somebody's vehicle. That's when you're taking it too far. Now had you been in my backyard or on my property or on somebody else's property, you might have gotten shot and hurt.'"
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said it is hoping to provide an update on its investigation later this week.
WCPO has reached out to the Bengals and Mixon's representatives. Neither has responded.
This is a developing story and will be updated once more information becomes available.
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