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Suspect surrenders in shooting of Clay County sheriff's deputy

The shooting happened near State Road 59 and County Road 1250 South. That area is south of Clay City.

CLAY COUNTY, Ind. — The suspect in the shooting of a Clay County deputy Friday morning is in custody.

The shooting happened near State Road 59 and County Road 1250 South. That area is south of Clay City.

Indiana State Police said the suspect Joe Hoffman, 42, was wanted on several charges in Vigo County.

Deputies had received a tip that Hoffman was in a tent in Clay County and went to arrest him on five felony warrants. When deputies arrived around 10 a.m., they said Hoffman began shooting. Deputy Brison Swearingen, a seventeen year veteran, in the lower leg. Another deputy fired back as they retreated and went to work helping Swearingen.

Other deputies provided first aid until he was airlifted to the hospital. Indiana State Police Sgt. Matt Ames tells 13News Swearingen is expected to make a full recovery. 

Police said responding officers located Hoffman back in his tent. Police used flashbangs and pepper spray and eventually hooks to pull the tent apart.

Indiana State Police said officers asked Hoffman to give up so no one else would get hurt. The suspect did then surrender without incident around 2:30 p.m.

The deputy who fired back at Hoffman was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

The investigation into the incident by the Indiana State Police will be turned over to the Clay County Prosecutor's Office to consider charges.

Clay City Junior Senior High School and Elementary School were placed on lockdown during the incident.

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