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Inmate Uses Handcuff Chain To Murder Veteran Sheriff’s Deputy, Escapes In Facility’s Transport Van

Indianapolis, IN – A veteran Marion County sheriff’s deputy was murdered in the line of duty while bringing an inmate back to a local jail after a medical appointment on Monday.

The incident occurred inside the sallyport at the Adult Detention Center (ACD) located at 695 Justice Way at approximately 11:30 a.m. on July 10, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) said in a press release later that afternoon.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Deputy John Durm, 61, was returning from transporting 34-year-old jail inmate Orlando Mitchell back from a medical appointment when the inmate attacked and assaulted him inside the sallyport, according to police.

Investigators later said Mitchell stepped out of the back of the transport van and strangled Deputy Durm to death using the chain that linked his handcuffs together, WXIN reported.

Police said security footage showed the veteran deputy fighting for his life on the floor of the sallyport, but he was unable to get the chain off of his neck before he became unresponsive.

Mitchell subsequently unlocked his handcuffs, stole the facility’s transport van, and fled the Criminal Justice Center Complex, the IMPD said.

He later crashed in the area of 3000 Prospect Street and was taken into custody by IMPD officers and MCSO deputies.

One deputy suffered minor injuries during the suspect’s apprehension and was treated and released at the scene.

Mitchell was transported to an area hospital for unspecified injuries.

Meanwhile, Deputy Durm was rushed to Eskenazi Hospital by Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS).

The 38-year law enforcement veteran was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at the hospital, according to the IMPD.

The MCSO confirmed Deputy Durm’s murder in a press release that afternoon.

“It is with deep sadness that we must report that the Deputy initially involved in the altercation with an inmate has passed away from his injuries,” the MCSO said. “Deputy John Durm faithfully served the people of Marion County as a Deputy Sheriff for almost four decades.”

The sheriff’s office described the longtime deputy as “an honorable and faithful public servant.”

“But he was more than that,” the agency noted. “He was a husband, a father, and a friend. Our hearts are broken for his wife, Ramona, also a dedicated Deputy here at the MCSO, and his children who have continued his legacy of service.”

Deputy Durm’s wife has served the MCSO as a fellow deputy for decades, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal told ABC News.

The slain deputy’s son just began the detention deputy academy.

“I’m sure he went there today to follow in his father’s footsteps,” Sheriff Forestal said. “He started today thinking he had a new career, and some other inmate ended his father’s life.”

In addition to his wife and four children, Deputy Durm also leaves behind his parents, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

The IMPD said Mitchell will be arrested for Deputy Durm’s murder after he is released from the hospital.

Investigators said the suspect’s apprehension was captured by one IMPD officer’s bodycam.

The deputies involved in the incident had not been issued such equipment.

The IMPD Critical Incident Response Team is handling the ongoing investigation with the assistance of the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

The MCSO Internal Affairs Unit has also launched a separate internal investigation, as is standard practice for such incidents, the IMPD said.

IMPD Officer Shane Foley told NBC News the deadly attack is being investigated as an “intentional act of homicide.”

Mitchell has been in jail since September of 2022 in connection with the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

The trial in that matter is still pending, NBC News reported.

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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