RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. (March 20, 2016) -- A Howard County sheriff's deputy and a suspect died following an overnight shooting in Russiaville.
Deputy Carl Koontz and Sgt. Jordan Buckley were shot while trying to serve arrest and search warrants for possession of a syringe around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Howard County Sheriff Steven Rogers. The Howard County Sheriff's Department, Kokomo police and Russiaville Town Marshal were involved in the case.
Deputies arrived at the residence in the 300 block of Chandler Street and tried to make contact with the suspect. No one responded when they announced themselves at the residence; when they entered, gunfire ensued. The deputies fired back, Rogers said.
“At that time upon entry, the officers received gunfire," Rogers said during a news conference Sunday morning. "Two officers were injured. Both officers were transported to Indianapolis."
A Russiaville officer and other deputies pulled Koontz and Buckley to safety. They went first to Howard Regional Hospital before being airlifted to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Koontz, 27 years old and a 3-year veteran, was in critical condition and had surgery Sunday. He succumbed to his injuries, officials said during an 11:45 a.m. update on the case. Buckley, a 9-year veteran with the department, was recovering from his wounds. Authorities said Sunday evening that Buckley was in good condition and described him as responsive.
Koontz is survived by his wife, Kassie, and young son, Noah, according to Rogers.
"Deputy Koontz was one of our family," Rogers said. "Carl will be missed. We appreciate any prayers and support that anyone can give us right now, because we really need the prayers of the people we serve."
When asked what people can do to help officers, Rogers said, "There's a lot of people out there who support the efforts of law enforcement. I think if you have the opportunity to tell a police officer what you do appreciate about having them out there, watching out for you every day, I think that's all we can ask... and we do appreciate that."
Police escorted family to IU Health Methodist Hospital in the overnight hours. A motorcade escorted Koontz's body from Methodist to the Marion County Coroner's Office Sunday afternoon. His body will be transported to Howard County on Monday afternoon.
In Howard County, deputies secured the area around the residence. SWAT units from Howard County, Kokomo and Indiana State Police again tried to contact occupants around 2:30 a.m.
Those attempts lasted about two hours with no response, according to Indiana State Police. SWAT personnel eventually confirmed that an individual was dead inside.
Police have not released the individual's name and couldn't confirm if the person was the same one wanted on the warrant. Indiana State Police will be the lead agency in the investigation.
Gov. Mike Pence has directed flags to be lowered to half staff at state facilities immediately, with the order in effect "until sunset on the day of Deputy Koontz’s funeral."
“Karen and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Howard County Sheriff's Deputy Carl Koontz and we extend our deepest condolences and prayers to his family, friends and the law enforcement community of Howard County who grieve the passing of this courageous young officer. Indiana will always honor the memory of Deputy Koontz and will always be grateful for his courageous service. Deputy Koontz lost his life in the line of duty and his passing reminds us all of the courage and risk that every member of our law enforcement community and their families face every day in the defending our communities."
Sen. Joe Donnelly released a statement about the shooting:
“My heart goes out to these officers and their families, particularly the family of Deputy Carl Koontz who was tragically lost earlier today. I am keeping them in my prayers. Every day, law enforcement officers across our state and our country get up, go to work, and put their lives on the line to keep us safe. This tragedy is a reminder of that dedication, and of our obligation to honor their service.”