Fatal Cromwell Shootout Between Bounty Hunters And Wanted Man (VIDEO)

By Jeff Neumeyer
By Ian Hoover

August 26, 2014 Updated Aug 26, 2014 at 5:39 PM EDT

CROMWELL, Ind. (21Alive) -- Deadly gunfire involving bounty hunters.

Kosciusko County sheriff's officers say a man wanted on a warrant is dead, after exchanging gunfire at his home with three bounty hunters trying to bring him into jail.

Two others were seriously wounded in the same shoot-out.

The attempted apprehension Monday night took a violent turn.

The coroner says 56-year old Gary Helman suffered multiple bullet wounds before he died.

About 7 o'clock Monday evening, police say three out-of-town bounty hunters showed up at Helman's home near Lake Wawasee, to snatch him up on a felony warrant for failing to appear.

We're told they spotted him standing on the back deck, but it turned out to be anything but a routine surrender.

"They engaged him and made contact, and shortly after that a gun battle ensued, between the inside and the outside of the dwelling," said Kosciusko County 1st Sgt. Chad Hill.

When officers made the scene, bounty hunter Tad Martin and Helman's twin brother Larry were shot and needing help.

Gary Helman was found in a back bedroom beyond help.

“It is not the Wild West," said Curtis Stavedahl, a Warsaw bail bondsman.

His business had no connection to the shooting, but he does hire licensed bounty hunters at times to pursue fugitives.

"I'm sure this is going to give a little bit of a bruised eye to the industry. What we do is a very professional thing. It is a dangerous thing, but it's a necessary thing as well," Stavedahl said.

Gary Helman's fateful showdown with bounty hunters ended in tragedy this week, but this isn't the first time he's had a run-in with the law.

In 2009, at the same house, he held state and federal authorities at bay for nine hours as they tried to arrest him on active warrants.

Police say after he ignored commands to stop, he was shot in the leg and hip when he reportedly went for a gun in his waistband.

Fast forward to last night.

"Everybody is kind of freaking out right now. This is not the first time that something like this has happened at this residence. There have been a lot of instances with the police involved, and so, it's kind of a sad story actually," said neighbor Tara Brunruns.

With his history, why didn't police have Helman in jail?

“We try to take all the warrants as serious as possible; unfortunately we have an abundance of warrants. There's actually a lot more warrants than we have manpower," said Sgt. Hill.

Larry Helman and Tad Martin are being treated at Ft. Wayne hospitals, though no condition updates are available.

So far, no charges have been filed in a capture attempt that went terribly wrong




What are your thoughts CLICK HERE to leave us a "Your2Cents” comment.

Want to be in the know for the next weather event, the next school closing or the next big breaking news story?

TextCaster alerts from Indiana's NewsCenter are your defining source for instant information delivered right to your cell phone and email. It's free, easy and instant. Sign-Up Now!

Powered by Summit City Chevrolet



© Copyright 2014, A Granite Broadcasting Station. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.