A Republican Ohio state senator and his wife have been accused of shooting two teenagers they saw on their Columbiana County property, but they insist they shot at the ground.
Michael Rulli admits that he shot his gun at what he believed were people trespassing on his land on November 28, 2022, around 5:15 a.m.
Rulli was outside his home in Salem, Ohio, at the time with his dogs when he heard a rustling in the nearby trees. He shouted but there was no response, so he fired in the general direction of the noise.
But Hayden Cibula, 16, insists that Rulli shot him while he believed he was on land owned by Hayden’s uncle, Joe Kinirons, and thought he had permission to hunt.
A Republican state senator and his wife from Ohio, Michael and Kelly Rulli, are accused of shooting a teenager and his girlfriend on their property.
Hayden Cibulas and his family maintain they were shot. Hayden appears in the photo with his girlfriend.
The special prosecutor found Rulli’s actions to be “reasonable” and no charges were brought against him or Hayden, despite finding that he was trespassing.
Hayden said he believed he was several hundred meters from Rulli’s property at the time of the shooting, but the senator maintains the distance was only 15 meters.
Hayden also claimed that Rulli was trying to shoot directly at him and his girlfriend, but Rulli maintains that he was just shooting at the ground.
Later that night, around 7pm, a similar series of circumstances occurred.
This time, Kelly Rulli, Michael’s wife, was outside and heard a noise coming from the same area as that morning.
He is alleged to have shot Hayden and three other members of the Cibula family as they returned to retrieve their trees and hunting equipment.
The Cibulas dispute Rulli’s claim that the two fired shots into the ground as a warning shot and insist they were shot at. Kelly Rulli also claims to have been standing on the porch of her house and not near where the Cibulas were walking.
A special prosecutor considered the Rullis’ actions “reasonable” after they shot at the ground and gave verbal warnings
Rulli fired shots early in the morning, alleging that Hayden Cibula, 16, had been trespassing on private property, but the teen insists he had permission to hunt on a neighbor’s land.
Special prosecutor Jay Macejko found differences in the accounts but concluded the Rullis’ actions were reasonable after emphasizing how they shot into the ground and shouted verbal warnings.
The prosecutor’s report emphasized the lack of credible evidence that the Rullis intentionally shot the Cibulas.
No casings or bullets were recovered in any of the incidents.
‘Mister. Rulli reported that he observed flashlights and heard rustling sounds on his property near a tree line,’ the special prosecutor’s report details.
‘Mister. Rulli yelled at the individuals but heard no response. Mr. Rulli reports that he returned the dogs to the house and left with a gun. He continued to scream and fires a shot into the ground.
“There is simply no credible evidence present at the time of this review that any of the Rulli family members ‘shot at’ anyone,” Macejko wrote.
Hayden Cibulas has expressed frustration at being shot by someone they perceived to be acting above the law.
He concluded the Rullis’ actions were “reasonable,” saying they shouted warnings and were “subjectively afraid” at the time.
“While one should always be cautious and safe when firing a firearm, firing into the ground, even if reckless, is not unlawful harassment or otherwise illegal in this case,” Macejko wrote.
Despite the discrepancies and the proximity of the hunting establishment to the property lines, the special prosecutor found the Rullis’ actions to be reasonable under the circumstances.
Even though no criminal charges have been filed, both Hayden and Ashley Cibula continue to insist that the Rullis shot them.
They maintain that they were on their uncle’s property, where they had permission to be, and were hundreds of meters from the Rulli property. They say that the Rullis’ actions were reckless.
“It was really reckless,” Hayden Cibula told Cleveland.com. ‘There was no reason to shoot. He could have come down to talk to us. But there was no reason to shoot.
Hayden insists that Rulli “was really trying to shoot us.”
A special prosecutor found variations in the accounts but concluded the Rullis’ actions were “reasonable” after emphasizing how they shot into the ground and shouted verbal warnings.
“Suddenly, they shoot a gun at us again. She’s yelling, ‘Get off my property,'” Ashley Cibula said of Ms. Rulli’s firing. “They shot us all. Me, my husband and my two children.
“We are just normal citizens who were shot by someone who believes they are above the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rulli has asserted his right to defend his property and family and noted that he has received similar threats in connection with his political work as an Ohio state senator since winning his seat in 2018.
“No one was injured and the incident was thoroughly investigated by an out-of-county special prosecutor, who concluded there were no grounds to file charges,” Rulli said.
“It is my God-given right to defend my property and my family, and I will continue to defend it.”
Both families were left upset after the incidents in which the Cibulas expressed frustration over believing Rulli was acting above the law.