Woman killed after standoff at hotel near Sullivan
Photo by KRISTI SANDERS
An Indiana State Police Emergency Response Team member readies his weapon during a standoff with a guest at the Days Inn Hotel in Sullivan Wednesday afternoon.
Law enforcement, medical staff and SWAT personnel responded to the Days Inn on U.S. 41 near Sullivan on Wednesday afternoon.
“We responded here on an upset guest," Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom said.
Staff with the Days Inn made the call after comments the unidentified woman involved had made.
The call came in around 1:22 p.m. through the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department of a woman refusing to leave and had locked herself in the room. The Sullivan City Police Department and the Indiana State Police were first to arrive.
“The staff members indicated that the subject made some alarming statements,” ISP senior trooper B.J. Patterson said. “Officers then proceeded to the room where the individual was staying and attempted to locate her. She locked herself in the room and refused to answer.”
At that point the police got access to a master key to get into the room and located equipment for the door security locks.
“Once they were able to make entry, the officers noticed that the individual was armed and did brandish a weapon,” Patterson said. “Officers immediately backed out of the room and called for additional assistance.”
The ISP Emergency Response Team was called and later arrived on the scene.
A guest who spoke with Times staff indicated that around 2:30 p.m., officers began asking those found near the hotel and inside common areas to leave. Authorities then reportedly were knocking on doors and asking occupants to leave.
Andy Patel, an employee with the Days Inn, said, "When asked to evacuate they said there was possibly a woman with a weapon."
“All occupants of the hotel were evacuated and there was no other civilians around,” Patterson said.
Authorities were seen cordoning off the area and then the ERT team entered the building in full gear soon after arriving.
“At around 5:30 this evening (Wednesday), the Indiana State Police ERT did make entry to the room,” Patterson said. “After several commands and negotiating failed, once the ERT was in the room again the individual brandished a firearm, pointed at the officers and that’s when an exchange happened.”
An ambulance was then summoned and it later left empty.
The Sullivan County Coroner arrived just before 6:30 p.m.
Cottom confirmed the hotel would be closed for a few hours for the investigation.
“… I do want to make sure the public knows they are safe,” Patterson said. “There is no threat to society. There will be obviously an ongoing investigation. The detectives are working to put together all the circumstances that led to this event.”
The quick action and how the different agencies worked together was an important part of this situation.
“In this type of situation, it is crucial for obviously law enforcement to work with one another, agency to agency,” Patterson said. “But it is also very helpful when you do have witnesses that are able to be very specific and in this case, a lot of people did recognize things. They remembered things that they saw and heard so that absolutely played a part into where this situation was handled with reference to evacuating everybody from the hotel.”
The identification of the female subject involved in the incident will not be released until the family is notified and police would not confirm if she fired shots at the officers. Patterson confirmed the woman had stayed at the hotel the previous night.
“The autopsy is scheduled for 10 a.m. (today) at (Terre Haute) Regional (Hospital),” Patterson said.