Anderson County closes investigation into deaths of suspects

Anderson County closes investigation into shooting deaths of suspects

Posted:
When the suspects ran off the road at Blockhouse Valley Road they stopped in the parking lot of the Claxton Fire Station. When the suspects ran off the road at Blockhouse Valley Road they stopped in the parking lot of the Claxton Fire Station.
Michael Baker (source: TBI) Michael Baker (source: TBI)
Shanna Richardson (source: TBI) Shanna Richardson (source: TBI)

CLINTON (WATE) - A report of findings from an investigation into the shooting deaths of two suspects in a stolen pickup truck last February shows the officers who shot the pair acted appropriately.

The report, released Tuesday, said the deadly force used by Anderson County deputies Jonathan "Adam" Bryant and Cpl. James "J.D." Powell was justified because of the threat posed by the suspects in their attempted escape.

Shanna Richardson, 25, and Michael Baker, 32, both of Linton, Ind., were killed on Feb. 29 during a chase and shootout with the officers.

The shooting happened as the suspects fled from the officers during an attempted stop in Anderson County. One of the officers had initially attempted to stop the pair after they had stolen $146 in gas from a Lake City gas station.

The suspects were driving a pickup stolen from a Linton, Ind. veterinarian clinic.

The chase on narrow back roads exceeded 100 mph at times, with both suspects firing weapons at the officers.

An autopsy of the suspects' bodies showed both were under the influence of several drugs, including synthetic cathinone, known as bath salts.

The shootout happened after Deputy Bryant chased Baker and Richardson on Raccoon Valley Road, onto Clinton Highway, West Wolf Valley Road and onto Old Emory Road. Cpl. Powell later joined the pursuit in a civilian vehicle.

When the suspects ran off the road at Blockhouse Valley Road they stopped in the parking lot of the Claxton Fire Station.

Gunfire was exchanged and Richardson was killed.

As Baker attempted to flee he turned with a weapon and was shot. He died later at UT Medical Center.

The report says it's unlikely Baker nor the officers knew his gun was empty when he was shot.

The report concludes by commending the officers for their tactical performance and appropriate action.

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