TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WISH) - Six Terre Haute residents now face federal charged in connection with the shooting death of Officer Brent Long.
Long was fatally shot July 11 as he and several other officers attempted to serve a warrant in the 1800 block of North Eighth Street. His dog, Shadow, was injured. The suspected shooter, Shaun Seeley , was killed by gunfire as well; police believe the gunshot was self-inflicted. Shadow, Long's K-9 partner, was shot in the face, but recovered. He is now retired and lives with Long's family .
"While the person responsible for killing Officer Long is dead, the legacy of Brent Long must not end there, U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said in a news release announcing the charges. "I will not stand idly by and tolerate law enforcement officers being targets while they perform their sworn duty to protect us all. People who are complicit with a senseless act of violence should also be held accountable."
Hogsett said court records show the officers found several people at the residence when the attempted to serve the warrant, and Seeley did not appear to be there. Officers removed Heather Elkins, 23, Charles "C.J." Elkins, 23, Roberta Utterback, 51, Jenny Torres, 23, and Jesse Padgett, 21, from the residence, and officers said they all told them that Seeley was not there.
Long and his K-9 partner, Shadow, went inside to search the residence, and Shadow indicated the presence of someone inside a closet. That's when officers outside heard gunfire, Hogsett said, and gunshots were fired at them from inside the house. SWAT officers were called to the scene, and when they eventually entered the residence, they brought out Long, who was taken to nearby Union Hospital, where he later died. He suffered two gunshot wounds to the head, the Vigo County coroner's office said.
Seeley was found dead inside, with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. He had Long's firearm and ammunition in his possession, Hogsett said. Indiana State Police said Seeley was the subject of the arrest warrant for a probation violation. The Sullivan County prosecutor's office said the warrant was for failing to appear at a June 17 hearing to answer to charges of receiving stolen auto parts, a Class D felony. According to Indiana Department of Corrections records, Seeley was released from prison in 2010 after serving five years of a 12 years sentence for dealing narcotics.
Hogsett said Torres, Padgett, Utterback, Heather Elkins and C.J. Elkins are all charged with making a material false statement, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Scott Griffy, 40, faces several charges after police said he illegally sold Seeley the handgun used to kill Long. Police said Griffy was a convicted felon and therefore not allowed to own a gun, and he knew Seeley was in the same position, police said. He is charged with unlawful sale of a firearm to a prohibited person, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and unlawful possession of firearm ammunition by a convicted felon, all punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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