Elusive Knox gunman found lying in yard
KNOX — Police from three counties converged on the east side of Knox Monday night, searching for a man who threatened to kill somebody.
Knox Police Chief Clint Norem said David Griffith, 44, was apprehended and taken to the Starke County Jail. Norem said he is initially being charged with intimidation and criminal recklessness with a weapon.
The initial 911 call to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department said there was an intoxicated man outside a house in the 300 block of East St. Louis Street with a loaded .12-gauge weapon.
Officers from Knox, Starke County, Hamlet and North Judson converged on the scene, with several officers leaving a major accident about five blocks away.
Upon arrival at 304 E. St. Louis St., police were told that Griffith had approached the house, chambered a round into the shotgun, and “threatened to kill others,” according to a Knox press release.
But Griffith had left the scene and was believed to have barricaded himself in his own house on Chicago Street. At this point, Norem requested assistance from the LaPorte County K9 team and the LaPorte Emergency Response Team.
After getting no response, officers broke into the house and discovered Griffith was not there.
A large perimeter was set up and officers scoured the area. Throughout the night, officers were hampered by the darkness - most of Knox was without power following an accident next to Starke Memorial Hospital. “Flashlights were the only thing we were able to use,” Norem said.
The search area was just east of U.S. 35, behind Advance Auto, and flashing lights were visible everywhere on several streets.
For a short time, rumors flew like wildfire around Knox as observers at the utility pole accident and others near the manhunt area speculated about the emergencies. Some said the male accident driver (in reality, a woman was driving) fled the scene and was on the loose with a shotgun.
At one point, Ted Hayes of WKVI radio approached the scene, looking for Norem, and police saw his movement, swinging a searchlight in his direction. Hayes raised his hands immediately. “It was a crazy, crazy night,” he said during a radio broadcast.
On a porch near where officers were searching, six to eight teens furiously texted to Facebook and friends, describing virtually every action officers took. Some people also followed the search on portable police scanners.
Griffith was eventually located when a resident arrived home at 304 E. St. Louis St. and saw the suspect lying in her yard. He had no weapon with him and was taken into custody without incident.
The weapon was located at 602 S. Prettyman St., with a separate arrest resulting from that incident.
Police arrested Josset Hansel, 42, of 602 S. Prettyman St. on preliminary charges of obstructing justice, disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement.
Hansel is a female friend to Griffith.
The weapon was found on her property and when she was asked about it and Griffith, she denied any knowledge.
Hansel got in a verbal dispute with Knox City Officer Jarrod Boyd. She was at 304 E. St. Louis St., Knox, and was very uncooperative, from the first, telling officers that Griffith was not at her residence. And she tried to block officers from entering, police said. The weapon was located at Hansel’s residence, behind a door.
Police from LaPorte and Pulaski counties, Knox, Hamlet, Starke, and North Judson Police assisted in the manhunt.