Suspect dies after multi-state, multi-county chase and hostage situation

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Picture courtesy of Indy Star

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (April 9, 2015) — A man died Thursday following a hostage situation and shootout in White County.

Police identified the suspect as Don Smith, 29, of the South Bend/Elkhart area.

The incident started around 3:30 p.m. in Watseka, Ill., where a man later identified as Smith robbed a business and ran off. Police then confronted him at an auto dealership where they say he took a woman hostage and then left in her Napa delivery truck and headed toward Indiana. Police lost the trail after he crossed the state line.

Around 5:30 p.m., an armed robbery was reported in Lafayette at Advance America on Elmwood Avenue. Witnesses reported seeing the Napa truck, information that was relayed to Indiana State Police. Troopers spotted the stolen vehicle, leading to a chase up north 9th Street into Battle Ground and then Brookston. Police deployed stop sticks, which slowed the truck down. The pursuit continued into a parking lot, where the man ditched the truck and took an SUV.

The SUV went through Reynolds on U.S. 421 and then ran over stop sticks laid down by Monon police. The SUV ran a silver van off the road and into a ditch. The driver and two passengers left the van while Smith moved his hostage into yet another vehicle.

Police surrounded the van and Smith opened fire. Police shot back, fatally wounding him. The hostage managed to escape from the van with help from officers. She suffered some superficial wounds and was taken to a hospital in Monticello, state police said.

State police said Trooper Weslee Ennis and Trooper Rick Hudson were involved in the shooting. Both will be assigned administrative duties until a review board investigates the shooting. The names of other officers involved in the shooting will be released by their respective agencies.