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Suspect arrested after brutally beating man with 2×4 in Fountain Square apartment

Fountain Square man attacked with 2×4 in apartment stairwell

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis police on Thursday arrested a suspect accused of violently beating a man with a 2×4 in the stairwell outside his apartment in Fountain Square in late January.

Online police reports identified the man attacked as Joshua Burton.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by News 8 says Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were called to an apartment in the 900 block of Prospect Street around 5:20 a.m. on Jan. 27 to perform a welfare check on Burton.

Court documents say Burton’s wife made the call. She told officers that earlier in the evening, they’d encountered a man, later identified as 35-year-old Brandon Eaton, in the parking lot. Eaton was looking into vehicles, and when he saw the couple, asked if they had any meth.

After telling him no, Burton and his wife left for a party. They returned to the apartment around 3:30 a.m., and Burton took the couple’s dogs on a walk sometime later. His wife told investigators that after he left, she heard a disturbance in the apartment stairwell.

When she looked outside, she saw Eaton “with a 2×4 board in his hand standing over her husband.”

Burton was rushed to a hospital for treatment. Burton was “intubated and in a coma,” leaving him unable to speak with investigators.

According to court documents, Burton “suffered multiple skull fractures and doctors had to remove a portion of his skull to relieve pressure from a brain bleed.”

Burton’s family told I-Team 8 that he is stable, but has not regained consciousness since the attack.

Burton’s mom Kelly Leal said she spoke with her son 15 minutes before the attack. She said Burton did not want to call the police on Eaton because he was homeless.

Officers later reviewed security camera footage from the apartment stairwell around 5:03 a.m., which shows Eaton wandering around with a “piece of cake in his left hand and a wooden object in his right.”

Eaton was also seen breaking apart the 2×4, talking to himself, and using expletives to say he was going to attack Burton.

The attack was not recorded by security cameras, but the disturbance can be heard. Burton’s wife was also heard yelling for Eaton to leave the building after discovering the attack. “The video ends with (Burton) collapsing on the floor until medics and police officers arrive,” the affidavit says.

Eaton was later identified as the man in the attack by his sister, who heard of the incident from a Facebook post.

His sister spoke with police, telling them her brother struggles with homelessness and she wasn’t aware of his location. Detectives say they believed Eaton was the man involved in a shooting mile away from the apartment on the same day of the attack.

Eaton had refused to speak with officers after being shot, but was taken to a hospital for treatment.

After being identified by his sister, detectives confronted Eaton in the hospital on Feb. 1 and took him into custody.

Eaton was charged with attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery. A judge set his bond at $50,000 surety, or $15,000 cash. As of Tuesday night, Eaton still had not posted bail.

This is not the first run-in with the law for Eaton. Since 2006, he has been criminally charged 23 times, mostly misdemeanors, including six counts of misdemeanor battery and eight counts of trespassing.

In the past, Eaton has also been court-ordered to be mentally evaluated and to receive drug rehabilitation treatment.

Joshua Burton, seen in his hospital bed following the attack. Police said on Monday that he was still in a coma in an intensive care unit.
(Provided Photo/The Burton Family)