An Indiana police department has identified an officer who was killed in a shootout with a homicide suspect as a 16-year veteran of the force. Rob Pitts was one of four officers who were fired upon when they approached an apartment complex Friday night to confront the suspect, the Terre Haute Police Department said.
Chief John Plasse said officers returned fire, wounding the suspect, who then barricaded himself inside until special-response team officers entered a few hours later. Police say the suspect died but haven’t released his name.
Pitts died at Terre Haute Regional Hospital.
“People are engaging law enforcement and we are losing our lives,” Plasse said at a news conference. “He was a fine officer and he was going toward danger to help his fellow officers apprehend a homicide suspect.”
Pitts was part of a team that began a homicide investigation earlier Friday. Police have not said when that homicide occurred. The investigators gathered information on the location of a suspect and responded to that address.
Gov. Eric Holcomb called the events surrounding Pitts’ death “stunning and heartbreaking.”
“I ask Hoosiers around the state to join me in honoring Patrolman Pitts’ service and dedication,” Holcomb said in news release.
Terre Haute police said several churches held prayer vigils on Saturday evening.
“Rob is deeply missed, but we are grateful for the time we had with him. Thank you for your continued prayers,” said Ryan Adamson of the Terre Haute police department.
Pitts is the first Terre Haute police officer to die since July 11, 2011, when Officer Brent D. Long was killed while serving an arrest warrant.