INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Police arrested an Indianapolis man they say fired more than a dozen bullets into a police officer's marked patrol car and home while screaming anti-police obscenities Friday morning.
Surveillance video and witnesses led officers to the suspect, 27-year-old parolee March Eugene Ratney, who lives near the officer, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
The officer and his family were uninjured, according to WXIN.
“Think about this, this is your home,” said IMPD Chief Troy Riggs. “If there is one place in this world where you should always feel safe and your family should feel safe, it is in your home.”
The officer had just returned from a late shift at work, when someone fired approximately 17 shots from a 9 mm handgun into his house, fence and patrol car, according to police.
Neighbors recalled seeing a man in a T-shirt — with Black Lives Matter on one side and obscenities directed at police on the other — walking the neighborhood last Friday night. Police believe that man was Ratney after surveillance camera captured images of a similar car fleeing the scene after the shooting at 2 a.m.
Police pulled Ratney over and arrested him in less than an hour after the shooting.
Detectives searched Ratney's house and two other locations while searching for the weapon used to fire on the officer’s home. Police reported finding two guns, as well as several shell casings at the shooting scene and at the rear of Ratney’s house.
The targeted officer told WXIN that he was already familiar with Ratney, having arrested him on a gun charge several years ago.
Ratney may be charged again as a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm and could be prosecuted federally.
During his interrogation at IMPD headquarters, Ratney denied the shooting but became irate, cursing the officers and urinating in the interview room, according to police. At that time, police concluded the interview.
“If we’re going to overcome issues in our community, whether perceived or actual, we’ve got to work together and we can’t tolerate this,” said Riggs. “This officer represents this city and our city was attacked and his family was attacked as a result.”
The shooting follows the killings of five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally last Friday, which was called in response to the deaths of two black men shot by police in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Roughly 700 people attended a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Indianapolis Saturday and applauded the cooperation and protection of IMPD officers after the march.
“He (Ratney) is not a part of the movement and you can tell he’s not a part of the movement just in his approach to this whole issue,” said Muhammad Siddeeq of The Concerned Clergy after receiving a briefing at IMPD headquarters. “That movement is a movement trying to do positive things and peacefully resolve issues.
“We’re hurt that there would be such a vicious and callous attempt to terrorize a police officer’s home where his family and everyone is residing and we’re triply hurt when we see that he’s carrying a symbolic representation of an organization that he’s not representing in spirit or any other way.”
Riggs sent out a message to all of his officers reminding them of the dangers that present themselves both on duty and off to policemen and women and their families.
“We should continue to remind each other we need to remain alert and vigilant. It is imperative that we and our families have an action plan in case of (a) serious incident such as this.”
Riggs said his officers would maintain a heightened sense of awareness while patrolling downtown Indianapolis during this coming weekend’s Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration which always attracts tens of thousands of people to the city’s core.
The chief also said he was communicating with IMPD’s community partners to advise them of the latest information regarding the shooting and to accept their condolences and offers of support in the aftermath of the incident.
The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement in regards to the shooting:
Our collective police membership is concerned about this incident. We have reached out to the officer involved to ensure the officer and their family have all the resources they need at this time.
Like any attack on on our police, we must accurately account for the facts so that we may have a complete investigation to better understand how this occurred and hopefully prevent such incidents in the future.
In the interim, we continue our call for mandated reporting of assaults on law enforcement officers. Currently only 57% of police agencies report these statistics to a national database.
We look forward to working with our elected leaders in Indiana and at the federal level in the coming days to enact such legislation and we call upon residents to join us in these enhancement efforts.
Law is the safeguard of freedom, when those who swear to uphold the law fall under attack it threatens the fabric of our society.
We must come together to help protect those who protect our communities.