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Terre Haute murder suspect went to Walmart during 20-hour standoff

The murder suspect police thought was inside a Terre Haute home during a SWAT standoff last week actually left and went to Walmart in the middle of the 20-hour ordeal.
Indiana State Police troopers secure a home where the suspect in a Monday homicide holed up. (Photo: Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHR & WTWO) - The murder suspect police thought was inside a Terre Haute home during a SWAT standoff last week actually left and went to Walmart in the middle of the 20-hour ordeal.

State Police shot and killed Michael Reynolds last Tuesday after a nearly full-day standoff. Troopers say he walked out of the house he had barricaded himself in wearing dark clothing, body armor and carrying a weapon. Police say he made a threatening gesture or gestures toward them, and they shot him. He died at the scene.

THPD Chief John Plasse updated the investigation Tuesday with a timeline of events.

Plasse says on March 5th at about 4:21 P.M., officers located the suspect vehicle behind the First Avenue location.

Then at 4:29 P.M., shots were fired at responding officers by the suspect, and from what was gathered, 32 Terre Haute police officers were present as well as numerous other officers from different agencies that responded to that report of shots fired.

At 4:30 P.M., the Special Response Team was requested and with the last report of shots being fired by the suspect coming at about 5:36 P.M.

So Plasse says the suspect was firing shots sporadically at officers for a little over an hour.

At about 6:00 P.M., negotiators tried approaching the suspect.

Plasse also says that although it wasn't found out until later, at about 12:30 AM the next morning on March 6th, the neighbor directly to the east reported that he saw the suspect go through his backyard, who didn't report the incident until the next day.

The neighbor did say that the suspect was wearing dark clothing and crawling through his backyard to the east.

At 1:05 A.M., state police snipers began rotation with THPD snipers, but Plasse maintained that the suspect was out of perimeter before ISP officers arrived.

Plasse says THPD later found out that at about 3:30 A.M. that morning, the suspect made a trip to Walmart.

Plasse maintained that THPD "can't release everything due to the pending investigation, and ultimately the suspect could've went anywhere. That's on us so we're going to fix that."

Continuing with the timeline, Plasse says that at about 9:30 that morning, officers received information that the suspect was possibly at the Fourth Avenue location.

Going forward, Plasse says that after the standoff had concluded, THPD went back to the house on Sixth Avenue.

Directly south is another house where THPD had people positioned in several of those spots but Plasse claims there safe place to go to watch that side.

Plasse says THPD determined later in their investigation that the window was not adequately covered and that the suspect passed through covered by a privacy fence. He crawled across the back yard and into another yard and then made it out.

According to Plasse, the suspect did purchase a cell phone at Walmart. And the investigation suggests that he showed signs of wanting to leave again from the house on 4th Avenue.

"He could've very well taken more lives but I believe God was watching over us. We have to be better and take steps to make sure these things don't happen again," says Plasse.

"I can assure you that this will never happen again."

Plasse says ISP as well as THPD detectives are working to identify anyone who may have helped the suspect.

NBC Affiliate WTWO in Terre Haute contributed to this story.