Man jailed after random attack on visitors at Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

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UPDATE: (Feb. 19, 2019) -- Jonathan Belcher was found guilty but mentally ill on multiple counts, including battery and resisting law enforcement. He was sentenced to 53.5 years in jail as a result.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A man is in a coma and another man in jail because he violently attacked people at a main downtown Indianapolis attraction.

Jonathan Belcher is being held in the Marion County Jail, accused of attacking three people, seriously hurting two of them, on the steps of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument last week.

“I can’t tell you how disappointing is, especially when you think the city’s supposed to be safe,” said Bell.

Keith Bell has lived in Indianapolis for 57 years.

He always thought of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument as safe, until last week. That’s when police say Belcher punched and kicked Bell’s friends and another woman.

“We can’t even take a walk on monument circle without you know, violence,” said Bell. “It was unexpected.”

One victim had just taken a picture of the monument when court documents show Belcher punched him in the head, knocking him unconscious, and then the man’s head hit the ground. That man was so badly hurt, he was immediately put in a medically-induced coma when he got to the hospital.

Belcher then attacked another man before punching and kicking a woman with her family.

“To have something like this to happen in broad daylight, I mean it was early evening, is just unbelievable,” said Bell. “It’s embarrassing.”

Even more embarrassing, Bell thinks, is that Belcher was even out of jail to attack people in the first place.

Belcher’s criminal history includes 11 other cases in the last nine years. He was even arrested on Oct. 14, five days before he became violent at the memorial, yelling “This is my ship! This is my goddamn ship!” as Indiana State Police Capitol Division troopers tried to put him in cuffs. The probable cause affidavit states they had to Tase him to arrest him.

“I mean I’m shocked and I’m surprised he wasn’t behind bars,” said Bell. “It’s just a shame.”

Since the attack happened on the steps of the monument, state police, not IMPD responded, which is why Bell couldn’t find the incident listed in their reports. ISP reports aren’t public, but Bell says this one should be.

Bell says he’s concerned people living, working and visiting downtown don’t know about what happened and aren’t on alert for when Belcher inevitably gets out of jail, again.

“You can’t trust just being in what you think is a safe environment,” said Bell. “And certainly I think a lack of reporting creates a lack of awareness for people who live here and care about this city.”

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