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Deputy Shot In Head By Former Cop During Welfare Check That Led To Gunfight

New Harmony, IN – The gunman who shot a Posey County deputy during a chaotic gun battle in a residential neighborhood Saturday evening was a former New Harmony Town Marshal and ex-Posey County reserve deputy.

The incident began at approximately 6:46 p.m. on Sept. 18, when the Posey County 911 dispatch center received a call for a welfare check at 612 Short Street, Indiana State Police (ISP) Evansville District Sergeant Todd Ringle said in a press release later that night.

Deputies and the New Harmony town marshal responded to the scene within 10 minutes and were outside the home when a man opened fire on them.

The law enforcement officers returned fire, wounding the suspect.

“During the exchange of gunfire, a Posey County Sheriff’s Deputy was shot and critically injured,” Sgt. Ringle confirmed.

He was later identified as 41-year-old PCSO Deputy Bryan Hicks, WEHT reported.

Deputy Hicks was shot in the head.

The gunman and Deputy Hicks were both rushed to Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville, according to the department’s press release.

Deputy Hicks remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit on Sunday, WFIE reported.

The shooter was later identified as 70-year-old former New Harmony Town Marshal Paul Wiltshire, WEHT reported.

Posey County Sheriff Tom Latham said during a press conference on Sunday that in addition to serving as town marshal approximately a decade ago, Wilshire had also served as a Posey County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) reserve deputy more than 16 years ago.

Details regarding Wiltshire’s condition have not been released.

“These types of calls are very nerve wracking,” Sgt. Ringle told WFIE. “We know that in today’s society it is becoming more violent. These officers went to this residence to check on someone… and unfortunately, bad things occurred and right now, a Posey County Deputy is fighting for his life.”

Sheriff Latham said the entire incident can only be described as “the unthinkable,” WEHT reported.

“This situation has sent shockwaves through this community and this office,” Sheriff Latham said during the emotional press conference on Sept. 19.

ISP is handling the ongoing investigation into the shooting.

New Harmony resident Joni Mayhan said she lives nearby and watched the incident unfold from her backyard, WEHT reported.

Mayhan estimated she heard at least 60 gunshots during the 20-minute ordeal.

She said seeing the deputies trying to pull Deputy Hicks out of the roadway after he was shot was “hard to watch,” WEHT reported.

“You never think something like this will happen, until it happens,” Mayhan said. “It was crazy. It was just pure madness.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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