By BRADEN LAMMERS
SELLERSBURG — A Sellersburg man is in custody after police say he shot a Clark County Sheriff’s Department police officer and an Indiana State Police K-9 during a 91⁄2-hour standoff with police in the Hill N’ Dale subdivision.
Police say the suspect, who has yet to be identified, shot Clark County Sheriff’s Office Detective Chris Proctor in the leg after a second round of gas canisters were fired into a home on the 700 block of Delaware Court. He was shot shortly after 3 p.m., when police initially tried to enter the home about three hours into the standoff. Proctor was transported to University of Louisville Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, according to police. He is expected to have surgery today, but Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden said he is in good spirits and “doing fine.”
Kilo, an ISP K-9, also was sent into the home early in the standoff and shots were fired. Police confirmed Monday evening the dog had been killed.
“When we actually entered the house is when the first shots were fired,” said Sellersburg Police Chief Russ Whelan. “There were ... several shots fired by the suspect.”
Police took the suspect into custody unharmed just before 9:30 p.m. Monday.
Whelan said the suspect had been hiding in a closet before walking out of the back door of the home under his own will. He was wearing only a torn T-shirt and boxer shorts.
Officers then transported him to the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex.
“He will be taken, questioned and get the appropriate help that he obviously needs,” Whelan said soon after the suspect was taken into custody. “I believe it came to the best conclusion that we could have hoped for.”
Whelan said that law enforcement’s next step will be processing the home and collecting evidence to build a case for subsequent prosecution.
THE STANDOFF STARTS
The standoff started after SPD responded to a call by the suspect’s wife, who asked police to convince the man to get some help for “mental health issues,” Whelan said.
He said he responded to the call shortly before noon and found the suspect.
“I encountered him in the backyard of another resident. He was, at that time, armed with two weapons (handguns), and he also had his two young children with him at the time of that first encounter,” Whelan said.
The suspect’s children are a 16-year-old son and a girl, believed to be 4.
Whelan added that the suspect pointed the gun at him, but did not fire a shot.
Whelan said the suspect, when initially confronted said, “He knew what we were wanting from him, which is when he initially pointed the weapon at me and had his children with him.”
“He let go of the children, I got them out of the way, and the pursuit, at that time, was on,” Whelan said earlier in the day.
A foot chase led the suspect through the Hill N’ Dale subdivision to a home on Delaware Court, where he kicked in the door. There was no one home at the residence and the standoff with police began.
Police officers from several agencies, including several SWAT teams, surrounded the house.
Whelan said during the course of the standoff, “40 or so” gas canisters were fired into the home and, eventually, police shut off the power to the residence, but the suspect remained hunkered inside.
“How someone could sustain that, I don’t know,” Whelan said.
Whelan said the home was “unlivable” following the incident.
A police robot was also sent into the home during the standoff to try and communicate with the suspect.
However, Whelan said the suspect had not been communicating with the officers that surrounded the home and he shot out the cameras on the robot so police could not see inside the home.
“Right now, with no one in the house but him, time is on our side, so we are not going to rush in to try and do anything that is not necessary,” Whelan said before the standoff ended. “Hopefully, we can establish some contact with him and get him to come out peacefully.”
The standoff rattled neighbors who said that they live in a quiet neighborhood and never experienced anything like they did Monday.
Brittany Hobbs, a Nevada Street resident, said she took the suspect’s children to safety before they were taken back to their mother. Hobbs said the suspect’s son came running to her after he was let go and just clenched onto her and said, “Just hold me, my dad had the gun to my head saying he was going to shoot me.”
“It was very scary,” Hobbs said.
Meredith Trendel, who lives across the street from where the suspect had holed up, left work when she found out her three children, ages 20, 14 and 10, were in her home.
Trendel said she had been keeping in touch with her children via text messages and calls. She said when police arrived on the scene, they came in the house and told the kids to get in the basement and stay down.
Denton Avenue resident Ron Worman wasn’t home at the time the standoff began, but said he believed the suspect had broken into his home on the 600 block.
“He left a pair of pants laying on my kitchen floor — they’re still there,” Worman said.
He added that the suspect had kicked in the door, walked all through the house, knocking over a lamp and breaking a cabinet before he left the home. Worman added that he found a cross laying in his bed, believed to have been left there by the suspect.
— Staff Writer Gary Popp contributed to this report.