Bio & Incident Details
Tour: 17 years
Badge # 19
Weapon: Gun; Unknown type
Offender: Not available
Lieutenant Robert Atwell was shot during an exchange of gunfire with an armed suspect during a disturbance at a trailer in the Pondarosa Mobile Home Court.
A woman who lived at the trailer called police at 11:55 pm to complain that her estranged husband had threatened her and their 4-year old daughter. They had been separated for about six months prior to the incident, and her husband had been under psychiatric care and had peace bonds and restraining orders against him.
Hearing his brother, Corporal Charles Atwell, receive the call to the trailer home, Lieutenant Atwell went in on the run to assist him. Arriving first, Lieutenant Atwell exited his car. He got only a few feet when he heard shots from the vicinity of the trailer. Before he could take cover, he was struck on the side of the forehead by one of the slugs.
Seconds later, IPD officers David Cress and Stephen Keers pulled up. They had both just gone off duty when they heard the call. The windshield of Officer Keers’ car was riddled with shotgun pellets, some of which struck Officer Keers who was wounded slightly. Within moments, other police and sheriffs cars arrived and engaged the suspect in a gun battle.
Lieutenant Atwell was moved from the line of fire and transported by ambulance to a hospital where he died shortly after noon on Tuesday, November 7. The suspect died at the scene from what was believed to be a self-inflicted injury.
Lieutenant Atwell had served with the Marion County Sheriff's Department for 17 years and had previously served with the United States Army in Korea. He was survived by his wife and two daughters