Officer Joshua McCrary. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

The Indiana State Police report that the suspect in a police shooting this morning died after an exchange of gunfire with a member of the state police SWAT team early this afternoon.

The deceased suspect has been identified as 44–year-old Quentin Starke of Bartholomew County.

Sgt. Jerry Goodin with the Indiana State Police says that police from multiple agencies were searching woods near a gravel road off of County Road 200S at about 12:21 this afternoon when a state trooper came across Starke trying to hide in the secluded area. Starke allegedly pulled out a rifle and fired at the trooper, who returned fire.

Goodin said it is not yet clear whether Starke was killed by a shot from the trooper or his own gun. An autopsy will be performed by the Dearborn County coroner’s office.

The incident started at about 4:20 a.m. this morning when Columbus Police Sgt. Joshua McCrary tried to pull over a vehicle near 11th and Washington Streets for a traffic infraction. Instead of stopping, the driver fled. Bartholomew County deputies deployed tire deflation devices near Garden City on State Road 11 which police believe the driver struck. He turned off onto County Road 200S, near a water treatment plant and began to run away.

As McCrary approached, Starke allegedly fired at the officer with a rifle, injuring the officer. McCrary was treated for his injuries at Columbus Regional Hospital and released. State Police say they do not yet know whether McCrary was hit by the bullet, or debris from Starke’s shot.

Officers from agencies including the Columbus police, Bartholomew County deputies and state police cordoned off the area and began the search for Starke. That included a state police helicopter and police dogs from several agencies, Goodin said.

Although the shooting happened at 12:21 p.m., there was a delay in identifying the body because Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting is a Columbus police officer, as are several of his deputies. And those that are not police officers are friends with the Columbus police officers, Goodin said.

That led the state police to call in an outside coroner’s office to handle the death scene and subsequent autopsy, Goodin said.