Former Special Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Chris Heben was headed to buy his mom a birthday gift March 28 when, following an altercation, he was shot in the parking lot of a Bath Township, Ohio, shopping center. The bullet pierced Heben’s lower abdomen.
Rather than call for help, Heben, 44, hopped in his truck and tried to chase down his assailant while holding a finger in his bullet wound. Within minutes, he was seeing stars, he told Navy Times, so he decided to pull over at a police station and get some medical attention.
It all started when a gray, low-profile sports car nearly backed up into him in the parking lot. Heben said they exchanged strong words, but no one was yelling.
“You almost ran me over,” he recalled saying. “If I wasn’t paying attention, I’d be under your car right now.”
Thinking the situation was over, he headed for the Mustard Seed Market & Cafe. But then the car came back and Heben got shot.
Navy Times spoke to Heben over the phone April 3, following his discharge from the hospital.
Q. What happened when the car pulled up?
A. I’m going toward the store and he comes up next to me and shoots me through the door, basically. He said, “you got a real big mouth and you need to learn some respect. Where I come from we have to earn respect. I’d be willing to help you with that right now,” or something like that.
And then he looked at his buddy, turned back and looked at me, and that’s when I felt like I got mule-kicked in the gut. I never saw a gun.
I had a gun in my car at that time, a Glock. If I would have had the gun on me, I still think, legally, I couldn’t have shot because I didn’t see a gun.
Q. Did you see the plate?
A. No, but that’s why I gave chase. I’m all amped up. You know, I’m a SEAL — I’m not thinking 911, I’m thinking, ‘must catch people.’
Q. How long did you follow the car?
A. I could never get more than 75 yards from them because I have a truck, they have a souped up little car. At some point in time, I’m like, I can’t follow these guys anymore. There’s a police station literally right here, I’m going to pull in there and get some help.
I went from seeing stars to like, looking through a kaleidoscope into a lava lamp. Everything was kind of blue.
I would just guess it was less than five minutes. My belly was on fire. I got shot about five inches below my belly button and about an inch over from that.
It was burning, my heart’s racing, I’m sweating, my eyes aren’t working. And I’m thinking, what’s the end game here? If you catch up to them, and you probably won’t, what are you going to do?
You’re going to pit maneuver them, and spin them out, and hope you can get out with your gun? And you still haven’t seen a gun, and now you’re pursuing people, which is outside of the concealed carry statutes. Dude, just get help.
Q. Had you ever been shot in combat?
A. I was never shot in combat, no. I’ve been fragged, you know, from nearby explosions, [rocket-propelled grenades], things like that. Maybe a bullet hitting a wall and getting metal fragments.
It’s funny, because the doctor comes out, and my parents are in the room. And he goes, “I just have to tell you, you have a lot of other metal in you.” He’s pointing at my body, going, “You have it here, you have it here, you have it here.”
And my mom looks at my dad, and she’s glaring at me, and she’s like, “So you’ve been hurt before, and you never said anything?!”
Apparently this penetrated a few inches into my abdomen and the doctor said he had to repair a few holes in my small intestine. They pulled it out, but I don’t know what it is, what caliber it is.
Q. Do the police have any leads?
A. No, I think they’re kind of at a loss. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t keep anyone in the loop. They just kind of do their thing, you know, and that’s understandable.
Heben served from 1996 to 2006 with SEAL Team 8, with deployments to Iraq, Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Later he became a close quarters combat and urban operations instructor with Naval Special Warfare Group 2. Since his discharge, he’s served as a special operations contractor overseas and been featured on numerous television specials, in addition to expert panels on CNN and FOX News.
For more information on his work, check out www.chrisheben.com.
First of all, Thanks for all you’ve done Mr. Heben. I hope they catch the sorry excuse for a human being that shot you. Maybe he can see what kind of respect he can earn in prison.
I hope your Mom forgave you for failing to mention anything prior to this that would’ve caused unnecessary worry. Get better soon.
I hate to use it but, “no guts no glory”. Ever faithful, Honor, and country. You’re to be commended.
Personally I wouldn’t want to be the sorry excuse for a person that shot Chris. But hey, that’s just me it’s not like the seals could make a body disappear or anything…
As a fellow shipmate and Buckeye thanks for being a badass in an era of slackers. Chris, whats your opinion on conceal/carry? Why weren’t you carrying???
SO1 Heben is one tough hombre no doubt. I bet he doesn’t use his truck as his holster from here on out. I’ve made that mistake myself and the only way to rid the country of scumbags like the one who shot Heben is returning lethal fire. Cops and prisons won’t fix a mind as twisted as theirs but a well placed round will. Get well soon and best wishes.
It seems to me, that the 2 publicized shooting of SEALS after they have come home is based on a belief by the shooter that no one is so good, they can’t be shot. So, 2 SEALS get shot, and the pussies who shot them are either in jail, or are so scared to show their faces, they will be in hiding for a longtime to come.
First Mr. Heben, I’m happy you’re well and will be home soon. Also I’m thinking you may get more flack from your Mom than this round.Moms can be scary.This random shooting is a challenge all across this great country of ours, and we must address this for our children.I respect all people who choose to serve our nation, and I thank you.
The dude that shot you is a coward and without that gun you would have beaten him and his friend to a pulp. They are rats and should be treated as such. Exterminated.
Thank you for your service. Thank you for your focused and positive agression in pursuing these scumbags. But most importantly, thank you for thinking while pursuing and making (in my view) the right call. Why? We need people like you in our society and the outcome could have been a lot worse. Please stick around. Run for office, or something siimilar where you can have an even greater positive effect on America. You and your story motivated the hell out of me. v/r Tim (a retired jarhead).
Terrific you chased them BUT, instead you COULD have continued into the store and bought mom a birthday present!
Then, while they were gift wrapping you could have hit 911 on your cell and gone to the hospital WITH a present for mom!
from a mom
I wonder if they bought anything in the store. Someone must have remembered them in the store. Surely there is a security camera that got them on video. That car sounds pretty unique as well. Someone knows that car. Offer a reward for information about that car. Why were they there? To rob someone? To pick up a friend? They probably live in the first section 8 housing up from where they got on 77N.
Sorry you got shot dude. Get well soon.