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June 26, 2013

Standoff suspect charged with 7 attempted murder counts

Affidavit gives account of family dispute before police arrival

SELLERSBURG — The Sellersburg man who was the subject of a nearly 10-hour standoff with police Monday was charged in a Clark County court Wednesday morning.

Joshua L. Priddy, 31, was charged with seven counts of class A felony attempted murder; class C felony criminal recklessness; and the class D felonies of killing a law enforcement animal, three counts of pointing a firearm, four counts of residential entry, attempted residential entry and resisting law enforcement.

During the initial hearing, presiding Judge Daniel Moore entered a not guilty plea on Priddy’s behalf and set his bond at $500,000 cash-only. Priddy was determined during the hearing to be indigent, and the state will appoint a public defender for future hearings and a possible trial.

According to court documents, a status of counsel hearing is scheduled for July 8. A jury trial date has been set for Nov. 26.

Court officials on Wednesday released the probable-cause affidavit, drafted by Indiana State Police trooper Joshua Banet, leading to Priddy’s 18 felony charges. The affidavit outlines that Priddy threatened to shoot his 16-year-old son, and the son selflessly acted — at one point threatening his father with a butcher knife — to care for his 4-year-old sister before police arrived on the scene.

BEFORE THE STANDOFF

According to the affidavit, Sellersburg Police Department Cpl. Drew LaMaster was dispatched to 818 Iowa Ave. in Sellersburg, the Priddy home, in reference to a man in need of help.

The call originated from 814 Iowa Ave., and Sellersburg Police Chief Russ Whelan and Capt. Mark Levesque responded to assist LaMaster.

After arriving to 814 Iowa Ave., Levesque spoke with Joshua Priddy’s wife, who told police “that her husband, Joshua Priddy, was having a mental breakdown and needed help.”

Whelan and LaMaster went to the rear of the 814 Iowa Ave. home to observe the rear of 818 Iowa Ave. The two officers reported hearing commotion coming from nearby Georgian Avenue.

“Officers went toward the commotion where they observed two white males playing tug of war with a small white female,” according to the affidavit.

The two boys were later identified as Joshua Priddy and his 16-year-old son. The girl was Priddy’s 4-year-old daughter.

As Whelan and LaMaster further approached the two men, Joshua Priddy pointed a handgun at the officers and said, “You are the government. I know where this is going,” according to the affidavit.

Priddy then let go of his children and fled on foot.

The two officers ran after Priddy, but lost sight of him in the 610 block of Denton Avenue. Whelan was able to later locate Priddy, and the foot pursuit continued toward Pennsylvania Avenue. At that time, ISP troopers arrived and were assisting in the effort to locate Priddy.

Whelan again lost sight of Priddy around 716 E. Delaware Court.

Officers then set up a perimeter and started a house-by-house search for Priddy, and discovered a door kicked open a 712 E. Delaware Court. A more concentrated perimeter was set up around the home, and a K-9 unit was requested to respond to the scene.

ISP Trooper Nathan Abbott and his K-9 Kilo later arrived at the rear of the residence.

“Trooper Abbot gave repetitive verbal commands that he was going to release his K-9,” according to the affidavit. “Once the K-9 was released, Trooper Abbot again gave loud verbal commands that the dog had been released.”

K-9 Kilo then went down a hallway of the home, while six policemen made entry into the residence.

“As officers were inside the residence, shots were fired from a back room where K-9 Kilo had went toward,” according to the affidavit.

Whelan advised that at this time, “rounds came through the drywall toward the officers.”

Abbot called for Kilo, but was unable to get the dog to respond after the shots were fired. Kilo was later found to be deceased from Priddy’s gunfire, despite the bullet-resistant vest the K-9 was wearing.

Over the next several hours, gunfire was exchanged between officers and Priddy inside the residence. During one of the exchanges, Clark County Sheriff’s Detective and SWAT team member Chris Proctor was shot in the leg while outside the home.

On Wednesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden confirmed that Proctor was out of the hospital and recovering well at home.

Later in the evening, police spoke with the owner of 712 E. Delaware Court by telephone, who said the family was not at home and that no one had permission to enter the house. As the standoff was taking place, Banet spoke with Priddy’s wife and her 16-year-old son at their home.

The son told Banet that his mother had gone to a neighbor’s home earlier in the day to use a phone, after Joshua Priddy had smashed her cell phone.

“While mom was gone, his dad, Joshua Priddy, retrieved a Glock 23 with two extended magazines and handed the gun to [the son],” according to the affidavit. “Joshua Priddy grabbed [his son] by the back of his shirt and pulled him out of the residence while [the son] was holding his 4-year-old sister.”

Priddy then reached a fence in the backyard and tore through it while still pulling his son by the back of the shirt.

The son told the trooper that Priddy drug him into 825 Georgian Ave. after kicking in the front door.

Once in the home, Priddy grabbed the firearm and his daughter from his son.

“[The son] stated that he grabbed a butcher knife in the kitchen and told [Priddy] to give him his sister back,” according to the affidavit. “[Priddy] pointed the gun at [his son] and stated, ‘I will shoot you.’”

The son then dropped the knife, and Priddy again grabbed him by the back of the shirt, and the father and two children then went to 821 Georgian Ave., “... where Priddy tried to kick in the front door, but was unsuccessful ...,” according to the affidavit.

The three then went to 847 Georgian Ave., where he opened the door and made entry asking for [a man’s name].

At this time, “[the son] was able to break away from Priddy and ran out the front door,” according to the affidavit. “Priddy ran after [him] and [his daughter].”

Whelan and LaMaster were soon on the scene where the found Priddy and his son in tug of war with the young girl.

At the close of the affidavit, Banet reported that after a 9 1/2 hour standoff, Priddy surrendered to law enforcement.

For previous reports on the standoff, visit newsandtribune.com and search for “Priddy.”

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