Columbus man arrested after 14-hour search

A Columbus man surrendered to police late Monday after being on the run for more than 14 hours in northwestern Jackson County.

Nathan Michael Shepherd, 31, was arrested by Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Officer J.L. McElfresh around 10:30 p.m. Monday in the 4700 block of West State Road 58.

Shepherd was arrested without incident within a mile of the Freetown garage he and another man broke into hours earlier, police said.

Officers received several tips and were patrolling the area when McElfresh spotted Shepherd alongside State Road 58 while responding to another call not related to the incident. McElfresh said Shepherd told him he hid in a culvert about 100 feet from where he was found.

He was booked into the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown at 11:04 p.m. without bond on charges of burglary, resisting law enforcement, criminal trespassing, intimidation and possession of marijuana.

Police had briefly detained a man thought to be Shepherd just before 2 p.m. in the 11000 block of State Road 135 near the Jackson-Brown county line 4 miles away from the incident. Police were able to determine the man was not Shepherd, and he was released, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers said.

Officers also arrested Tyler Levi Mitchell, 28, of Columbus after a four-and-a-half-hour standoff at the garage he and Shepherd were seen breaking into Monday morning in the 3800 block of West State Road 58.

Mitchell was charged with intimidation, burglary, criminal trespassing, resisting law enforcement and false informing.

The property owner told police he thought the two were in the garage after he watched home surveillance on his cellphone.

Jackson County Officer Rick Meyer initially responded to the call at 7:53 a.m. and heard the two inside the garage moving things around and making loud noises, according to a news release from county Officer Adam Nicholson.

Nicholson was the second to arrive at the scene, and he and Meyer were unsuccessful in contacting the two men in the garage.

Meyer and Nicholson entered the garage and found Mitchell hiding in the rafters, Nicholson said. Jackson County Detective Bob Lucas had arrived on scene before they entered.

Mitchell would not comply with officers’ orders to surrender and threatened to shoot them and himself if they didn’t leave the garage. Meyer and Nicholson were not able to see Mitchell and left the garage, police said.

Shepherd also fled from inside the garage, and officers chased him before losing sight of him after he ran into a wooded area and threatened to shoot officers.

Officers heard loud popping noises from the garage and could not determine whether Mitchell had fired a weapon at them or himself.

Meyer and Nicholson reentered the garage with county Detective Tom Barker, but Mitchell again threatened to shoot. Police left the garage and gave commands over loudspeakers, but Mitchell did not respond.

Police did, however, prepare for the possibility of weapons and called for armored vehicles from the Seymour Police Department and Indiana State Police.

An Indiana State Police SWAT unit was preparing to enter the building when Mitchell began communicating with Jackson County Officer Rob Henley. Mitchell then left the garage on his own and was arrested.

Carothers said there was no evidence to confirm whether Shepherd or Mitchell was armed.

“No weapon was ever seen,” he said.

While in custody, Mitchell gave police a false name, and his real identity was discovered after he was booked in.

Carothers said Mitchell did not have identification when he was arrested or booked into the jail.