INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- March Eugene Ratney, according to Department of Correction records, wasn’t due to be released from prison until this past June 6 after serving half of a 12-year sentence following his conviction as a serious violent felon with a weapon. Ten days later, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officers were called to an east side address where Ratney’s sister said he had pulled a gun and threatened to kill her.
Investigators now report, and neighbors confirmed, Ratney, on parole, was the man clad in a Black Lives Matter t-shirt and screaming profanities at police, who shot up an IMPD officer’s house not far from his own home early this morning.
The officer and his family were uninjured.
“Think about this, this is your home,” said IMPD Chief Troy Riggs. “If there is one place in this world where you should always feel safe and your family should feel safe, it is in your home.”
The officer had just returned from work, but had not yet retired for the night, when approximately 17 shots were fired from a 9mm handgun into his house, fence and patrol car.
Neighbors recalled seeing a man in a Black Lives Matter t-shirt that also had obscenities directed at police walking the neighborhood last Friday night.
A nearby surveillance camera captured images of a fleeing vehicle shortly after the shooting at 2 a.m.
Ratney was driving a similar car and was stopped a few blocks away within an hour.
During his interrogation at IMPD headquarters, Ratney denied the shooting but became irate, cursed the officers and urinated in the interview room.
At that time the interview was concluded.
“If we’re going to overcome issues in our community, whether perceived or actual, we’ve got to work together and we can’t tolerate this,” said Riggs. “This officer represents this city and our city was attacked and his family was attacked as a result.”
The shooting follows the murders of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally last Friday which was called in response to the deaths of two black men in police action shootings in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
700 people attended a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Indianapolis Saturday and applauded the cooperation and protection of IMPD officers after the march.
“He is not a part of the movement and you can tell he’s not a part of the movement just in his approach to this whole issue,” said Muhammad Siddeeq of The Concerned Clergy after receiving a briefing at IMPD headquarters. “That movement is a movement trying to do positive things and peacefully resolve issues.
“We’re hurt that there would be such a vicious and callous attempt to terrorize a police officer’s home where his family and everyone is residing and we’re triply hurt when we see that he’s carrying a symbolic representation of an organization that he’s not representing in spirit or any other way.”
Riggs sent out a message to all of his officers reminding them of the dangers that present themselves both on duty and off to policemen and women and their families.
“We should continue to remind each other we need to remain alert and vigilant. It is imperative that we and our families have an action plan in case of (a) serious incident such as this.”
Riggs said his officers would maintain a heightened sense of awareness while patrolling downtown Indianapolis during this coming weekend’s Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration which always attracts tens thousands of people to the city’s central core as a similar mass gathering provided the opportunity for the Dallas gunman to open fire.
The chief also said he was communicating with IMPD’s community partners to advise them of the latest information regarding the shooting and to accept their condolences and offers of support in the aftermath of the incident.
Detectives searched the house where Ratney was living, as well as another house in the 700 block of North Euclid Avenue and another location, in search of the weapon used to fire on the officer’s home.
Two guns, as well as several shell casings at the shooting scene and at the rear of Ratney’s house were recovered.
Police also were intent on searching Ratney’s car.
The targeted officer told FOX59 that he was quite familiar with Ratney, having arrested him on a gun charge several years ago.
Ratney, 27, may be charged again as a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm and could be prosecuted federally.
He reportedly told detectives he was a, “two-time loser,” indicating previous prison sentences, and challenged them to charge him again.
IMPD reports it recommended revocation of Ratney’s parole after the June 16 complaint.
The Indy FOP released the following statement in regards to the shooting:
Our collective police membership is concerned about this incident. We have reached out to the officer involved to ensure the officer and their family have all the resources they need at this time.
Like any attack on on our police, we must accurately account for the facts so that we may have a complete investigation to better understand how this occurred and hopefully prevent such incidents in the future.
In the interim, we continue our call for mandated reporting of assaults on law enforcement officers. Currently only 57% of police agencies report these statistics to a national database.
We look forward to working with our elected leaders in Indiana and at the federal level in the coming days to enact such legislation and we call upon residents to join us in these enhancement efforts.
Law is the safeguard of freedom, when those who swear to uphold the law fall under attack it threatens the fabric of our society.
We must come together to help protect those who protect our communities.