News and Tribune

February 27, 2013

Grandpa’s threats end in arrest

Granddaughter claims he threatened her life

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

SELLERSBURG — A Sellersburg man was arrested Feb. 16 after threatening to shoot his granddaughter and her 4-month-old child in the head, police reported.

The incident was spurred by the grandfather’s dissatisfaction that his granddaughter had returned to live in the home. 

Sellersburg police responded to the residence at about 12:45 a.m. after the granddaughter of Bruce O. Whitley, 49, of 126 Allhands Ave., had contacted authorities.

Before officers arrived, the granddaughter had alerted them that a firearm, later identified as a Ruger Mark II .22-caliber Target pistol, was in the home.

When police arrived, the woman came out of the home and told police Whitley was in the home and drunk, according to the police report.

Police then took the granddaughter and her baby from the home to the Sellersburg police department for their safety.

Four phone calls were made by police to reach Whitley inside the home, but no contact was made.

Officers then made several commands over a police vehicle loud speaker commanding Whitley to exit the home.

Eventually, Whitley’s wife “poked her head out of the front door and was asked to have Bruce [Whitley] step out the front door with his hands in the air,” according to the police report. 

Several minutes later, a shirtless Whitley came out of the home.

Police used force to get Whitley to comply after he was told several times to go to his knees, police reported.

Whitley was then taken to the Sellersburg Police Department and questioned about the alleged threats he had made toward his granddaughter.

He told police that he was upset and did not want her there, but that he never directed any threats toward her.

As police searched the home for the firearm, which was found unloaded, a smoking pipe which smelled like marijuana and rolling papers were found.

The granddaughter provided police with a written statement that included Whitley had threatened to burn down the home.

“[The granddaughter] also stated [Whitley] made a comment that if she eats all the food in the house he was going to break her neck,” according to the police report.

The granddaughter said she had come back to the home after living with her mother for a week, and found Whitley intoxicated.

Whitley immediately expressed his frustration with her returning to the home, the woman told police.

Whitley had said, according to statements the granddaughter made to police, he was going to clear house, that she would be out the next morning, and that he was going to throw her belongs into the yard.

“[The granddaughter] stated she heard [Whitley] say,  ‘You are really pushing me. I am going to end up going to prison over this, but I will get out, and I’m going to put a bullet in that fat [expletive’s] head and her ... baby,’” according to the police report.

Police reported that before Whitley was taken to the jail, he told officers that he didn’t agree with the resisting law enforcement charge and if he was going to be charged, he was going to earn it.

He also told police that they needed to be ready and said he didn’t know what he was going to do.

“[Whitley] asked if I would shoot him in the back if he got up and ran out the door of the police department,” an officer noted in the police report. “[Whitley] also made several comments that he was not going back to jail.” 

When officers asked him about threatening to shoot his granddaughter and great grandchild, he declined making the statement and said he would never think of doing that.

A portable breath test was administered at the police department, which Whitley returned a blood alcohol content of .17.

After being taken to Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex, police reported, Whitley had to be physically restrained in a jail cell in order for officers to remove him from hand restraints.

Whitley has been charged in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 with possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a class B felony. The charge is supported by previous convictions of burglary and breaking and entering, according to court documents.

He was also charged with intimidation with a deadly weapon, a class D felony, and resisting law enforcement and possession of paraphernalia, both class A misdemeanors.

During an initial hearing last week, Whitley’s bond was set at $60,000 court cash and the judge ordered he have no contact with his granddaughter.

A pretrial conference has been scheduled for April 4.