2016-12-20 / Front Page

Suspect faces attempted murder charge after shooting CPD officer

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

Officer Luke Brown Officer Luke Brown A denied credit card purchase for a chainsaw in Greencastle is how the tale of Jeffrey Hunter’s gunfire exchange with Cloverdale Police Officer Luke Brown began last Saturday evening.

Hunter, 48, Greencastle, was formally charged with attempted murder, a Level 1 felony (20-40 years in prison) Tuesday in the Putnam County Circuit Court. Prosecuting attorney Tim Bookwalter has also filed charges of a Level 6 felony theft (six months to 2-1/2 years), Class A misdemeanor theft (up to one year) and a Class B misdemeanor battery (up to 180 days).

Hunter’s afternoon began with a trip to the Tractor Supply Company store in Greencastle. An attempted purchase of a $369.99 Jonsered CS 2255 chainsaw was halted by a denied credit card.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by Indiana State Police First Sergeant Jason Fajt, Hunter threw a piece of paper at the cashier and told her to call the bank; he was taking the chainsaw. The cashier attempted to stop Hunter, as well as two other customers, who tried to hold him down. Hunter managed to free himself and went to exit the store when he struck another employee attempting to stop him at the door.

Hunter reportedly dropped his wallet inside the store and was positively identified by the clerk using his driver’s license. A vehicle description was also provided to police.

Officers also benefitted from another customer from the store, who followed Hunter’s vehicle and contacted Putnam County Central Dispatch. A Putnam County Sheriff ’s Deputy caught up to Hunter’s vehicle and despite losing site of the fleeing red Chevrolet pickup truck, located Hunter at a residence shared by him and his mother at 4449 East County Road 375 South.

Officers from the Greencastle and Cloverdale police departments, as well as other PCSD deputies arrived on scene for back-up and could hear a loud argument from inside the residence.

The affidavit says as Cloverdale officer Luke Brown and PCSD Deputy Elizabeth Campbell approached the front door of the home. Hunter opened a glass storm door, complaining in a loud voice and being uncooperative with officers. Hunter stood at the threshold of the door, with his hands extended, as officers noticed a double barrel shotgun nearby. Officer Brown grabbed Hunter by the forearm, who, in turn, pulled back and drug the officer into the home, where a brief struggle ensued. Deputy Campbell saw Officer Brown fall backward, outside of the residence.

“Deputy Campbell went to engage Jeffrey Hunter with a taser; however, from the threshold of the door, she observed Jeffrey Hunter’s hands reaching for the shotgun,” the affidavit states.

Campbell observed Brown square up to the doorway of the home, just as the shotgun leveled from approximately a foot away. Hunter discharged the gun and struck Brown in the front of his bullet resistant vest. Officer Brown retreated back away from the door, and discharged two rounds with his duty weapon, striking Hunter one time in the left side of the abdomen.

The affidavit says Brown coaxed Hunter into exiting the residence, where he was handcuffed and provided first aid.

Brown was treated and released from Terre Haute Regional Hospital Saturday evening, while Hunter was airlifted to an Indianapolis area hospital. Upon his release, Hunter will be greeted with an arrest warrant for felony charges and a date in Putnam County Circuit Court.

According to reports in the Greencastle Banner Graphic, Officer Brown has been cleared medically to return to work but has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation into the police action shooting.

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