ANGOLA — A fugitive who allegedly tried to use his vehicle as a weapon against a Steuben County Sheriff’s Deputy on Friday, prompting the deputy to shoot at the pickup truck, sustained a wound consistent with shrapnel from a part of the vehicle, Sheriff R.J. Robinson said on Monday.
Meanwhile, Vincent Chilcote, 21, LaGrange, won’t be heading anywhere soon as Magistrate Randy Coffey ordered he be held without bail on charges stemming from a June 14 burglary in Angola.
Chilcote was arraigned on seven charges related to the June burglary that occurred on Angola’s west side. Charges, if any, are expected to be filed later this week from Friday’s event where Chilcote fled from two sheriff’s deputies and was shot at after he allegedly tried to use his truck as a weapon against one of the deputies Zackary Rowlands, Robinson said. Chilcote was able to allude police and avoided arrest for about 24 hours.
Chilcote failed to appear in court last week for his initial hearing in the seven charges, which included six robbery charges — three Level 2 felony armed robberies and three Level 5 felony robbery charges — and one charge of Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty for allegedly shooting a dog during the commission of the robberies.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Travis Musser requested that Chilcote be held without bail in light of Friday’s incident, and Coffey granted that motion Monday afternoon. Coffey entered initial not-guilty pleas on Chilcote’s behalf.
Chilcote is also facing charges out of LaGrange and Noble counties and misdemeanor drug charges in Steuben County. Public defender James Burns has been appointed as Chilcote’s attorney in the Steuben charges. Level 2 felonies are punishable by 10-30 years in prison while Level 5 felonies could result in 2-12 years in prison.
Meanwhile, Robinson said the wound sustained by Chilcote during Friday’s incident when he was found at the West Otter Public Access Site, was most likely caused by a piece of flying debris from the gunshot fired by Rowlands and not from an actual bullet.
Police said Rowlands feared for his safety and discharged his service weapon at Chilcote’s truck, which was allegedly being used to harm the officer with one year of service. After police had learned of Chilcote’s whereabouts at the West Otter Lake Public Access site, they attempted to bring him into custody on failure to appear in court charges.
Chilcote remained at large for about 24 hours after he fled in his truck, then crashing it and fleeing on foot. He was located by officers from the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department and brought in without incident. Following a 911 tip, Chilcote was found in a barn near the 1000 block of East U.S. 20, near the Prairie Heights Schools campus that straddles the Steuben-LaGrange county line, Saturday morning.
LaGrange County Sheriff Jeff Campos, whose deputies were involved in the search for Chilcote, said the suspect suffered at least one superficial gunshot injury. Chilcote was examined by emergency medical technicians after he was taken into police custody Saturday morning, and his injury was deemed not life-threatening. He was treated for that injury at Cameron Memorial Community Hospital and then transported to the Steuben County Jail.
Rowlands has been on administrative leave since Friday’s incident, which is being investigated by the Indiana State Police.
“We’re hoping to have everything wrapped up tonight (Monday) and (this) morning,” Robinson said. All of the material concerning alleged actions by Chilcote and the shooting, will be turned over to Steuben County Prosecutor Jeremy Musser for review. More charges against Chilcote are expected.
Following the shooting investigation, if cleared Rowlands will have to go through some sheriff’s department protocols before he can return to active duty.