News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 14, 2013

Terre Haute man in custody after standoff

Ross faces criminal recklessness charge

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute man arrested following a standoff on Maple Avenue with police Wednesday night faces a charge of criminal recklessness, a class-C felony.

Jeremy Ross, 30, appeared in Vigo Superior Court 3 on Thursday where Judge David Bolk found probable cause for his arrest and set his bail at $35,000 with no 10 percent allowed, in part because of Ross’ criminal record.

Detective Sanford Scott Jr. of the Terre Haute Police Department testified that police were called to the 1300 block of Maple Avenue on a report of gunfire and a man barricaded in an apartment at about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The department’s Special Response Team was called to the scene, and two women and a teenager who had been inside the building told police that Ross had made suicidal statements and was holding a firearm. He reportedly fired two shots into the stairwell of the two-story apartment house.

The women told police they did not know where Ross was after they fled the dwelling.

THPD Police Chief John Plasse said that police set up a perimeter around the building and tried to make contact with Ross. It was about two hours before Ross responded to a text message, Plasse said, and in the meantime, police were unsure if Ross was alive or if he was in the building.

“We don’t want to rush in to some place and we don’t want to force someone to do something to harm themselves,” Plasse said, noting that police were mindful of Ross’ alleged suicide threat and his criminal history, which include convictions for carrying a handgun without a license and burglary.

Police received an anonymous tip that Ross was at another location, and he was located later in a garage in the 600 block of South 13th Street.

Detective Scott testified that Ross told police he was upset because his daughter had been harmed the day before, and Scott said that Ross admitted to being suicidal and to firing the handgun inside the dwelling. Police said they found evidence that two bullets had passed through walls and floors into the basement of the building. They also found several shell casings, he said.

Ross did not make any statements in court.

Plasse expressed concern about the public curiosity concerning the standoff, and about the large crowd of onlookers that gathered along Maple Avenue and the side streets to watch the standoff unfold.

“I understand people are curious, but stay back at a reasonable distance,” Plasse requested, noting that police set up perimeters around a scene for safety reasons. “Don’t be the person who gets hurt by being stupid.”

People who were in the vicinity of the standoff told the Tribune-Star on Thursday that the atmosphere on the street and the attitude of the public seemed more like a carnival than a standoff.

“”The only thing missing was the cotton candy and snow cones,” said Paul Wright, who lives at the corner of Maple Avenue and 14th Street.

Wright said he sat on the front porch of his home and watched the action unfold until police recommended that he go inside.

Brandi Blevins, a stylist and nail tech at Cutters Hair Parlor, told the Tribune-Star she heard the gunshots while she was tending to a customer inside the salon, located next door to the apartment house.

“It sounded like two metal trash can lids had banged together,” Blevins said.

Two stylists and two customers were at the salon, along with three children, when police arrived at the scene and and warned them to lie on the floor for safety. About 20 minutes later, Blevin said, everyone in the salon was told they could go to their vehicles and leave the area.

“They said grab what you can, get your keys, get your kids, get your clients and get out,” Blevins recalled. The police escorted those people to their vehicles for safety.

But the street was full of onlookers, she said, and the parking lot of the CVS pharmacy down the street was also crowded with cars and spectators.

Toni Roberts, owner of the salon, said she went to her business late in the evening while the standoff was still in progress, and found the chaos upsetting. Roberts said she bought a rundown house in 1994 and turned it into her salon in a quiet neighborhood. But the apartment building next door has been anything but quiet in recent months.

Stylist and nail tech Alicia Smallwood agreed, noting that Ross was becoming well known in the community for attracting police attention for his alleged behavior.

Ross will return to court on Tuesday when formal charges are expected to be filed.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.