New Castle residents react to fatal officer-involved shooting

NEW CASTLE, Ind. — Neighbors on the south side of New Castle admit they’ve been concerned about car break-ins lately.

“I did have somebody sitting next to our car trying to look in and stuff my husband beeped the beeper to make them go away,” said Danielle Highmiller. “Guy on a bicycle, he likes to ride up and down look in peoples’ cars trying to see if anything’s open, that kind of stuff.”

Two hours before dawn Sunday morning, Jarred Burke, 24, was fleeing on his bicycle up the alley behind Treasures in Heaven Gospel Church at 1741 Columbus Street shortly after a New Castle policewoman investigating a report of a man breaking into cars.

The veteran patrolwoman, with a young officer by her side, let loose her K-9 who chased Burke down the alley, knocking him off his bike, scattering his backpack to the ground.

Brad Marcum listened to the struggle from his bedroom four houses away.

“Seems like I could hear somebody screaming, ‘Stop! Halt! Police!’” Marcum recalled. “I know I could hear them yelling, ‘Stop! Freeze!’

“Then I heard what sounded like muffled gunshots, real quick procession, just ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,’ almost like a semi-automatic, just as fast as somebody could pull their finger.”

Within seconds, the officer was shot at close range in the chest and Burke was mortally wounded.

Investigators said the officer suffered non-life threatening injuries and owes her life to a bullet resistant vest.

“I think she got lucky,” said Marcum, “and from what I understand, he didn’t get so lucky.”

Burke had a mostly non-violent criminal record and posted photographs on Facebook of his young son, lamenting the hours he would spend away from the boy when working.

There’s no indication at this point that Burke was the same man previously seen riding his bicycle up and down the alley behind Highmiller’s house.

“To think that a shooting happen very close to where my child sleeps, it’s a scary thing,” she said.

Burke’s family waved off a reporter Sunday afternoon, confessing it, too, was perplexed by the events leading up to the four a.m. shooting.

Indiana State Police joined Henry County Sheriff’s deputies and New Castle Police in the investigation.