Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local NewsIndianapolis Crime News


Clay County deputy shot while serving warrant in rural area

Indiana State Police say he's expected to make a full recovery
deputy shot.jpg
Posted at 10:54 AM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 08:50:37-05

CLAY COUNTY — A Clay County Sheriff's deputy was shot Friday morning while serving a warrant and was flown to a hospital, according to state police.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Matt Ames said the deputy, a 17-year-veteran, was shot in the leg near State Road 59 and County Road 1250 South.

The deputy was serving a warrant on a man wanted for several felonies, including auto theft, resisting law enforcement, unlawful possession of a syringe, theft and escape, Ames said. The man was on home detention but the ankle bracelet was cut off.

WRTV is not naming the man because no formal charges have been filed yet in connection with Friday's incident. It's WRTV's policy not to name suspects until formal charges have been filed.

Ames said the suspect was possibly living in a tent in the area. When they arrived, the tent was located and attempted to make contact. The suspect began to shoot at the deputies while he was concealed in the tent.

Deputy Brison Swearingen, a 17-year veteran, was shot in the leg. He was flown to an Indianapolis hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Another deputy, Eric Oberholtzer, returned fire while other officers took cover.

Ames said the suspect came out of the tent and attempted to engage Oberholtzer but quickly went back inside the tent.

Around 2:30 p.m., the suspect peacefully surrendered and came out of the area with his hands raised.

There is not believed to be an ongoing threat to the community.

Police used a helicopter and heat-activated cameras to monitor the rural area.

Ames said the tent the suspect was in had a tarp on it, so chemical agents were not penetrating into the inside. They were able to start taking the tent apart and utilized robots to get the suspect to surrender.

The incident is still under investigation. Oberholtzer has been placed on administrative leave, which is customary in officer-involved shootings.

Upon the completion of their investigation, Indiana State Police detectives will submit a full report to Emily Clark, the Clay County Prosecutor, for charges to be filed.

WRTV's Rafael Sanchez and Kaitlyn Kendall contributed to this report.