Docs: Man stole chainsaw before shooting Cloverdale officer

Cloverdale Police Department car

PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Court documents state that an officer-involved shooting in Putnam County began when the suspect stole a chainsaw from a store.

Jeffrey Hunter, 48, faces charges of attempted murder, theft, resisting law enforcement and battery in the case. He’s accused of shooting Cloverdale Police Department Officer Luke Brown on Dec. 10. Brown, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot in the chest with a shotgun. Brown returned fire, striking Hunter once in the left side of his abdomen.

Officer Luke Brown suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot. He was wearing a bulletproof vest. (Provided Photo/Cloverdale Police Department Photo)
Officer Luke Brown suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot. He was wearing a bulletproof vest. (Provided Photo/Cloverdale Police Department Photo)

Court documents state that Hunter went to the Tractor Supply Company in Greencastle and attempted to purchase a chainsaw with a credit card. When the cashier told him the card was denied, Hunter “threw a piece of paper at the cashier and told her to call the bank, that he was taking the chainsaw.”

The cashier and Hunter then fought over the chainsaw, with two customers intervening in an attempt to help the cashier. Hunter is accused of striking a female store employee after pushing off the customers that had tried to stop him. Hunter dropped his wallet during the tussle, which helped provided information to investigators. Another customer followed Hunter as he drove away, providing location information to Putnam County dispatchers.

A Putnam County deputy found Hunter and began to tail him. The deputy lost him due to the heavy dust of the gravel road. The dust cleared and the deputy found the pickup truck behind a residence in the 4400 block of East County Road 375 South.

Backup arrived in the form of a Greencastle officer, a Putnam County deputy and Cloverdale Officer Luke Brown. Hunter refused to step outside to talk to officers and a double-barrel shotgun was visible near the doorway. Brown attempted to grab Hunter by the forearm, but Hunter pulled back. Officers said that Hunter then shot Brown with the shotgun from about a foot away. Brown then fired two shots at Hunter, striking him once. Brown then talked Hunter out of the residence. He was handcuffed and first aid was rendered.

Officers spoke with Georgia Hunter, Jeffrey’s mother. She said the pair got into an argument because she wanted to go outside and speak to police. She said Jeffrey didn’t want her to talk to them, thinking they would then just go away.

Hunter was taken to an Indianapolis hospital. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Tuesday. Online jail records do not yet show him as being in custody.