Violent felon arrested in Broad Ripple on weapon, drug charges

Shane Schmutte

A convicted felon was found with a gun and drugs on the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple.

Shane Schmutte is being held in the Marion County Jail without bond. He was arrested after police were called to a disturbance near the canal bridge.

It happened just before 1 p.m. Tuesday on the Monon near the canal bridge in Broad Ripple.

John Cress was working in an office across the way when he heard a commotion and looked outside.

"Before we knew it, a guy started running," Cress said. "We saw them tackle him and kind of handcuff him up and he tried to throw something out of his pocket."

IMPD Officers Matt Jennings and Chris Wuensch were patrolling on bike when they heard the call - people being harassed near the bridge.

Jennings said when they pulled up, "we observed a group of individuals blocking the Monon."

As the group dispersed, Jennings said, "an individual known as Shane Schmutte began to walk away. I asked Shane where he was going and at that time he began reaching for a firearm out of his waistband and threw it over the bridge and into the canal."

He said firefighters were called to help and retrieved the gun from the water while police retrieved drugs from Schmutte's pockets, including heroin, Oxycodone pills and and marijuana.

The 30-year-old Broad Ripple man is no stranger to police. Court records show Schmutte has been arrested several times on drug charges and has been in prison three times for robbery and burglary.

"He has been a problem in the past in the area here," Jennings said.

This time, Schmutte faces charges that include possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm, which police say was stolen.

How to address repeat offenders and sentencing has become a subject of much debate.

Charlie Asher, a retired criminal defense attorney, said, "A lot of people's first instinct when there's any crime, is that this person should have been locked up and they've been locked up before, so we should have just kept them longer."

Asher, who lives in Broad Ripple, said he knows how frustrated people are with crime, but he says dealing with so-called "nuisance" offenders isn't always that simple.

"Saying we're just going to hold people forever and ever, and have longer and longer sentences, that's been the philosophy, so why do we still have these problems? I don't think you can incarcerate yourself out of every social problem or stupid decision," Asher said.