Officer shooting suspect in court on robbery charges

Thomas Hardy

Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - In his walk to court Tuesday morning, the man accused of shooting Metro Police Officer David Moore went on an expletive-laced tirade.

Also, the parole officer who officials say made mistakes that led to the release of suspected shooter Thomas Hardy has been suspended from his job until an internal investigation is complete.

Thomas Hardy was in court Tuesday, but not in connection with the shooting.

Hardy was defiant as he was led into court. The 60-year-old is charged with four felonies in connection with a robbery at a Dollar General store on Emerson Ave. about 45 minutes after Officer Moore was shot at a traffic stop Sunday morning.

Hardy will be back in court Friday but still hasn't been charged with shooting Officer Moore. At this point it isn't clear what charges he will face, but Tuesday evening, IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski announced that Moore would not recover from his injuries and that his family was making arrangements for organ donation.

Hardy cursed at reporters when they asked him questions on his way into court. "---- you. Shut the ---- up," Hardy said.

His outburst before reporters was a stark contrast to his silence inside the courtroom. Outside, family members found the allegation difficult to believe.

WTHR: "Do you think he did this?"
"I don't," said Edgar Hardy, Thomas Hardy's brother.
"You don't think he did it?"
"Why not?"
"I just don't think he did."

The charges that Hardy currently faces have nothing to do with the shooting. They are only connected to the robbery he's accused of committing at the Dollar General on Sunday. Because he's being held without bond, prosecutors are in no rush to file those shooting-related charges.

"I have time to develop the case that I need. Other than that, I don't want to comment on the investigation," said Denise Robinson, Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

Metro Police have declined to discuss the investigation since shortly after the shooting happened Sunday. It's still unclear how police connect Hardy, who has an extensive record but no convictions for violent crimes, to the shooting of Officer Moore. Police have said they are positive he is the shooter. It's an accusation difficult for his family to accept.

WTHR: "Why don't you believe he is capable of doing this?"
Cody: "It's not in his character."
"Not in his character to do this kind of thing?"
Cody: "No."
"Anything to say to the police officer's family?"
"Prayers are with them forever."

A 72-hour continuance was granted in the robbery case. Hardy will appear in court again Friday morning.

Police have said charges for the shooting could be filed this week. There were two homicide detectives in the courtroom observing. They are part of the team investigating the shooting of Officer Moore.

According to the Department of Corrections, Hardy was a low-risk offender who reported in every three months. A 13 Investigates report found that after an arrest last month, the 60-year-old should have been locked up again.

DOC mistake

The DOC failed to enter the fact that Hardy was on parole into a national database, so jail officials released him on bond. Eyewitness News has learned that the parole agent involved in that mistake has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the DOC investigation.

Three weeks ago, a convicted sex offender was arrested for raping a woman in a South Bend drug store bathroom. He had been released from prison three days earlier due to a mistake made by Department of Correction personnel.

"Now this happens just 20 days later, same thing, same failure, that's inexcusable. They knew they have a problem," said State Rep. Pat Bauer (D-South Bend).

DOC spokesman Doug Garrison says the vast majority of the nearly 20,000 people released each year from Indiana prisons are released properly.

"This happens very rarely. Sadly and unfortunately the consequences of a failure are very serious and in these cases were serious but we would say this would be an isolated incident given the great number we do every month and every year," said Garrison.