DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Ohio

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
David M. DeVillers
, United States Attorney
Contact: Jennifer Thornton

Grand Jury Indicts Mother and Son in Drug Conspiracy

Mother also charged federally with shooting Columbus police officer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – According to a federal indictment filed today, the woman accused of shooting a Columbus police officer during a search warrant on May 28 also allegedly possessed in her home fentanyl, nine firearms, nearly $20,000 in cash, 13 cell phones and multiple magazines of ammunition. An additional firearm was found in her car. 

A grand jury charged Rita Gray, 68, of Columbus, in each of the indictment’s six counts.

According to court documents, on May 28, 2020, Gray shot and seriously wounded 53-year-old Columbus Police Officer Russ Weiner while Weiner participated in executing a narcotics-related search warrant at Gray’s residence on Chelford Drive.

Documents detail that agents and officers knocked on the door of the residence and announced their presence. After the knock and announce went unanswered, agents and officers made entry into the residence. 

Upon entering the residence, law enforcement executing the warrant took on gunfire from Gray, who was present in the vicinity of an interior hallway. Gray was apprehended shortly thereafter, with two semiautomatic Glock manufactured pistols in close proximity.     

In January 2020, state and federal law enforcement began an investigation into suspected drug trafficking involving Rita Gray and her son, Eric Gray, among others. The investigation remains ongoing.

Today’s indictment also charges Eric Gray, 31, with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine. The drug conspiracy is punishable by 10 years up to life in prison.

Rita Gray is charged in the drug conspiracy, and with possessing with the intent to distribute fentanyl, assault of an officer, two counts of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and one count of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. She faces 20 years up to life in prison.

David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan; Jonathan McPherson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF); Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); James Giehl, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Pittsburgh Division; Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced the charges. Assistant United States Attorneys S. Courter Shimeall and Salvador A. Dominguez are representing the United States in this case.

An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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Columbus Field Division