CINCINNATI — Bengals running back Joe Mixon will not be indicted for a shooting that occurred near his home, local officials said Thursday.
Mixon’s home was part of a crime scene investigation where a teenager was shot while playing “Nerf wars,” a game involving toy guns. County prosecutors allege that Lamonte Brewer, who is listed as the boyfriend of Mixon’s sister, Shalonda, fired 11 bullets at the teenager, who is Mixon’s neighbor.
Brewer was indicted on multiple felonies — one count of assault, one count of tampering with evidence and two counts of having weapons under disability. Shalonda Mixon was indicted on two felonies — tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. The Bengals running back will not be subject to any criminal punishment.
“No charges are being filed against him,” Hamilton County prosecutor Melissa Powers said at a news conference in Cincinnati. “He did not commit a crime.”
Mixon, who has played for the Bengals for six years, cooperated with authorities and gave a statement, Powers said.
The shots were fired from Mixon’s backyard, according to the incident report and the prosecutor’s office, with one of them striking the teenager in the foot.
Powers brought in the toy gun that was believed to be held by the teen during the incident. The county believes damage on the front of the toy is from where a bullet entered and exited the piece of equipment.
The incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on March 6, according to the incident report. While the lighting was minimal, Powers believed that Brewer, Joe Mixon and Mixon’s physical therapist, Sean Pena, should have been able to discern the difference between a real gun and a toy gun.
“All were out there long enough for their eyes to adjust and acclimate to the darkness to be able to distinguish that these were toy guns,” Powers said.
The “Nerf wars” game, Powers said, involves high school students playing games with toy guns in neighborhoods, usually in suburban portions of town. Mixon told authorities that he was on alert after he received death threats following a menacing incident in January in which Mixon allegedly pointed a gun at a woman on a roadway. The case was promptly dismissed.
County officials said that surveillance video showed Mixon standing with Brewer in his backyard. Mixon’s sister was seen collecting shell casings before she and Brewer attempted to leave the scene.
Joe Mixon was seen carrying a firearm but did not fire any shots, the county said in a statement. Mixon had a right to the weapon as a legal gun owner.
In a statement released by his agent, Mixon and Pena feared for the safety of those in the home, including Shalonda Mixon’s five children. Mixon’s agent and the county both said Mixon called the team’s director of security to report the incident as soon as it occurred. The Bengals have not acknowledged multiple requests for comment since the shooting initially occurred.
“When another individual discharged a firearm, Joe interceded to stop the person discharging a firearm,” Peter Schaffer, Mixon’s agent, said in a statement. “Joe hates that a young adult was injured during this incident.”
Schaffer urged parents, authorities and school districts to evaluate the “Nerf wars” game and find ways to play it safely during daylight hours.
If convicted, Brewer would face a maximum of 20 years in person. In a statement, Powers said it was “a miracle the child was not killed” and that someone such as Brewer “deserves to spend as many years behind bars as the law will allow.”