• Man Sets Fire to War Memorial Steps

    November 23, 2011 No comments

    Indiana State Capitol Police were originally called to the scene of a reported traffic crash on Vermont Street in front of the Indiana War Memorial. In fact, what they found was a man, later identified as 49 year old Daniel G. Whitaker of Indianapolis, who had driven a 1996 four wheel drive Jeep up the steps to the top of the memorial. Once at the top of the steps Whitaker reportedly poured gasoline from a gas can down the steps of the memorial and ignited the fuel. The resulting fire appears to have caused minimal damage.

    After lighting the fire, Whitaker, who was wearing only a pair of khaki cargo shorts and draped in an American flag, began ranting how the world was safer 50 years ago when people could go outside without having to carry a gun. Ironically, Whitaker was armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol. Indiana State Capitol Police Section Sergeant Russell Growe engaged Whitaker in conversation and convinced him to surrender his gun which resulted in Whitaker unloading the pistol and throwing it to the ground.

    Whitaker was subsequently taken into custody without further resistance or injury to anyone present. He was taken to Wishard Hospital where he is being held on a 72 hour psychiatric evaluation hold and was also arrested for Terroristic Mischief, a Class ā€˜Cā€™ Felony.

    The quick thinking of Sgt. Russell Growe, an 11 year veteran of the Indiana State Capitol Police Section, is credited for bringing this potentially deadly situation to a safe conclusion.

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