UPDATE (6/7/2023): Robbie Perez has been officially charged with one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery.
BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. — A suspect who was the focus of a Bartholomew County manhunt is in critical condition after shooting himself following a short police pursuit on Friday.
Police were searching for the suspect as he was sought in connection to a shooting that injured a man and a young child at around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night in the 300 block of Elm Street in Hope, Indiana.
Police believe the shooting stemmed from a long-term family dispute.
Police said a 36-year-old and a 3-year-old were each found at the scene of the Elm Street shooting with gunshot wounds. Both were taken to Indianapolis hospitals by Lifeline. The child is in critical condition while police said the 36-year-old has since been released from the hospital.
“We have a child, a small child that is struggling right now and that child may never get to go to a ballgame may never get to go to school. We don’t know. It’s a sad story,” said Bartholomew County Sheriff Chris Lane.
Police said several other children and a sleeping adult were also in the Elm Street home at the time of the shooting.
Robbie L. Perez, 35, was identified as the manhunt suspect. Police said Perez was driving a Chevrolet HHR with Indiana License plate number “TKQ614”.
Perez was considered armed and dangerous.
According to Franklin Police Captain Scott Carter, Franklin officers spotted Perez’s Chevy driving toward Franklin from Interstate 65 on Friday morning.
Carter said police pursued Perez through Franklin in a “low-speed pursuit” at speeds of 40 to 50 miles per hour.
As police pursued Perez down Hurricane Road, police set up stop sticks at an intersection. Perez hit the stop sticks and eventually brought his vehicle to a stop near 500 North and Hurricane Road.
It is there police said Perez pulled out a handgun, put it under his chin and pulled the trigger.
“It’s tragic and it becomes tragic for our officers too,” Carter said. “Our officers see that and respond to those type of things and it’s just a tragedy.”
Perez was rushed to an Indianapolis hospital where he remains in critical condition.
Carter said the pursuit of Perez began at 10:45 a.m. in Franklin and lasted approximately 15 minutes.
Perez faces two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
“We need awareness,” Sheriff Lane said. “These types of gun violence… I don’t understand. It’s like people don’t understand if you pull the trigger on a gun you can’t pull that bullet back. You can’t. You have no control. Once it leaves that barrel it’s uncontrolled. And it’s gonna go someplace and there’s a good chance it’s gonna hit somebody.”
CORRECTION: Police originally reported the child’s age as 2 years old. They have since corrected the child’s age to 3.