Chief John Plasse of the Terre Haute Police Department in Indiana, sadly reports the death of Officer Rob Pitts.
Officer Pitts was investigating a homicide that had occurred earlier in the day. Evidence and witness statements brought officers to the Garden Quarter Apartment Complex where the suspect was believed to be located.
Pitts, along with three additional officers, located the suspect when he suddenly appeared in a second floor window above the front door to the apartment.
From the elevated position, the suspect fired upon all four officers. Pitts was struck by rifle fire from the wanted man.
One report indicated Pitts was struck in the head.
Officers returned fire, wounding the suspect.
His partners pulled Pitts to a safety while they continued to engage the suspect in the gun battle.
Pitts was transported to the Terre Haute Regional Hospital were he succumbed to his gunshot wounds later in the evening.
After the initial gun battle, the suspect barricaded himself in the apartment. As a result, a SWAT team was called. SWAT team members found the suspect about three hours later, suffering from a gunshot wound.
After the scene was secured, medics provided medical care for the suspect. However, he later died of his wounds.
“People are engaging law enforcement and we are losing our lives,” Plasse said at a news conference. “He was a fine officer and he was going toward danger to help his fellow officers apprehend a homicide suspect.”
We are sad to report that Patrolman Rob Pitts #196 was the Officer killed in yesterday’s incident.Officer Pitts was a 16 year veteran of the Terre Haute Police Department.Rob is deeply missed, but we are grateful for the time we had with him.Thank you for your continued prayers.
— Ryan Adamson (@THPDPIO) May 5, 2018
The shooting investigation is being conducted by the Indiana State Police.
“It is another tragic loss for the Wabash Valley and the Terre Haute Police Department,” Sgt. Joe Watts of the Indiana State Police said.
— FOX59 News (@FOX59) May 5, 2018
Pitts is the first Terre Haute officer to die in the line of duty since July 11, 2011. Officer Brent D. Long was serving an arrest warrant with a U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force when he was killed.
Gov. Eric Holcomb called the events surrounding Pitts’ death “stunning and heartbreaking.”
“I ask Hoosiers around the state to join me in honoring Patrolman Pitts’ service and dedication,” Holcomb said in news release.
The IMPD family stands with @THPolice1, as the news has broke that the officer has succumbed to their injuries. We are saddened by the loss of one close to home. Please say a prayer for the officer’s family, friends, and law enforcement family as they navigate tragedy. #LODD pic.twitter.com/51FFotC5vE
— IMPD (@IMPDnews) May 5, 2018
Officer Rob Pitts served the Terre Haute Police Department for 16 years.
His family survives him.
Officer Rob Pitts is gone, but will never be forgotten. EOW: Friday, May 4, 2018.