The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations has seized more than 1,000 firearms and 140,000 rounds of ammunition from the property of two brothers who were fatally shot by law enforcement during a nine-hour standoff Saturday.
The Knox County Sheriff's Office said the brothers, identified as Randy Wilhelm, 56, and Bradley Wilhelm, 53, fired guns at law enforcement vehicles and planned to detonate a propane tank as a bomb rather than face capture before they were fatally shot confronting law enforcement officers.
The state Attorney General’s Office's Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations later seized more than 1,000 firearms and more than 140,000 rounds of ammunition from the family's property, located in Monroe Township in Knox County.
The firearms seized are primarily sporting shotguns and hunting caliber rifles and most of the ammunition is target ammunition for trapshooting, according to the Ohio Attorney General's office, which oversees BCI.
The confrontation began around 11:30 p.m. Friday when Knox County Sheriff's office deputies responded to a shots fired call on Gilchrist Road near the village of Howard in Monroe Township, about 50 miles northeast of Columbus.
The sheriff's office said a bail bondsman called law enforcement and reported that his vehicle had been shot multiple times by a suspect. The bondsman was attempting to apprehend Randy Wilhelm, who had failed to appear in Knox County Common Pleas Court on a $100,000 bond, authorities said.
Wilhelm has been under indictment since 2020 for charges including intimidation, menacing by stalking, bribery, felonious assault and domestic violence. On Aug. 2, he failed to appear in court for his jury trial and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Knox County Sheriff's deputies initially obtained a search warrant issued by the Mount Vernon Municipal Court to search for and seize Randy Wilhelm and all firearms present on the property. During the ongoing investigation involving Wilhelm, detectives had received multiple tips that he had a stockpile of firearms and ammunition, that he had made threats that he would not be arrested and had the skills as a well-known trap shooter and proficient marksman to defend himself, authorities said.
Deputies requested assistance from outside agencies while responding to the scene, including BCI, the Ohio Highway Patrol, Mount Vernon police, Richland and Delaware county sheriff's offices, and Marysville police Special Response Team. Armored vehicles were provided for entering the property, and three of the vehicles were struck by gunfire from the two brothers, according to authorities.
During the standoff, authorities said a bulk propane truck was moved next to one of the houses on the property. They said Randy Wilhelm had previously threatened to use the propane tanker as a bomb if law enforcement attempted to apprehend him.
Ohio Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Brice Nihiser said Sunday the suspects shot at an agency helicopter, but did not strike it. The brothers are believed to have fired multiple shots during the standoff, but investigators were still trying to determine how many Monday.
“Any time we’re shot at, that definitely escalates things,” Nihiser said.
Around 9:20 a.m. Saturday, the brothers were riding side by side in a utility ATV toward officers who were outside of an armored vehicle when they were fatally shot by law enforcement officers, authorities said.
“When law enforcement attempted to stop the suspects, an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Knox County Sheriff's Capt. Jay Sheffer said at a news conference Saturday.
At the request of Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville, BCI continued the firearms search and their investigation is ongoing.
To date, the BCI has been requested to investigate 40 officer-involved shootings in Ohio in 2022. In 2021, the BCI investigated 69 officer-involved shootings; in 2020, 50, in 2019, 26 and in 2018 they investigated 20 officer-involved shootings, an attorney general spokesperson said.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Over 1,000 guns, ammo seized from scene of fatal Knox County standoff