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Suspect Found Dead In Seymour

Last updated on Thursday, February 23, 2012

(SEYMOUR) - An Indianapolis man who exchanged gunfire with a state trooper Monday in Seymour is dead.

The Jackson County Coroner confirmed the body was that of 35-year-old John Michael Fish. Police say Fish died from what appears to be a self-inflected gunshot wound. An autopsy will be done on Friday in Louisville to determine cause of death.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze say police found no evidence at the shooting scene Monday to indicate Fish had been shot by the trooper.

Fish's body was found around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday by an Indiana State Police helicopter.

The body was found several hundred yards west of I-65 and north of Sandy Creek Drive, in an extremely remote area near the CSX railroad tracks.

Fish's mother, who does not want to be identified, claims her son did not want to go back to prison and told her he would die first.

Police say the incident started when the trooper tried to stop Fish's pickup, which was southbound on Interstate 65 for a traffic violation.

Fish was stopped near the intersection of U.S. 50 and North Sandy Creek Drive around 7:30 p.m.

Houze says that Fish was the first to fire and then the state trooper returned fire. It happened in a matter of a few seconds and it was over.

Fish then fled on foot north through the woods in behind Circle K at the corner of U.S. 50 or Tipton Street and North Sandy Creek Drive.

The unidentified trooper involved was not injured during the incident. Houze says it's standard procedure for the department not to release the names of officers involved in police-action shootings.

The truck Fish was driving was impounded, its rear windshield was shattered and pocked with bullet holes. Houze says he wasn't sure whether police confiscated anything from the truck.

Houze was unsure how many shots were fired Monday night. A trooper's Glock handgun holds a clip with 17 rounds.

On Tuesday, the Indiana State Police enlisted the assistance of the United States Marshals Great Lakes Region Fugitive Task Force, which consists of U.S. Marshals and ISP personnel, in the search for Fish.

A fugitive warrant was issued for Fish for parole violation; however, formal charges had not yet been filed against him for Monday night's shooting incident.

Police spent the day before finding Fish's body interviewing relatives, friends and investigating his past behavior to look for any indication of where he might seek refuge.
Indiana Department of Correction records show Fish has prior convictions in Jackson County, as well as in Hancock and Marion counties.

Fish is no stranger to run-ins with law enforcement in Jackson County. Jail records show he was arrested there on July 7, 2003, on charges of robbery and criminal confinement.

He was also arrested on April 29, 2004, on a charge of criminal confinement.

On Sept. 16, 2002, he was arrested on a charge of driving while suspended.

And on May 21, 2002, he was arrested on charges of violation of Legend Drug Act, possession of marijuana and possession of a switchblade, according to Jackson County Jail Commander Charlie Murphy.

His address at the time of those arrests was in Greenfield, Murphy added.

Fish's prior convictions include charges of armed robbery and criminal confinement, according to DOC records.

Indiana Department of Correction records show Fish was paroled in September 2010 after being sentenced to 20 years for a 2004 robbery conviction. Records show he was sentenced Oct. 6, 2004, on an armed robbery conviction in Marion County and on April 28, 2004, on convictions of armed robbery and criminal confinement charges in Jackson County.

Spokesman Doug Garrison of the DOC says Fish reduced his sentence by passing GED exams, earning two college degrees and participating in a character-building program designed to reduce recidivism, the Associated Press reported.


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