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Slain suspect had violated parole

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Scott Roberson | Daily Journal
Investigators look for evidence at the scene of a shootout Wednesday afternoon in a cemetery near Franklin. Deputies said a suspect pulled a gun while resisting arrest and a shootout ensued.
Scott Roberson | Daily Journal Investigators look for evidence at the scene of a shootout Wednesday afternoon in a cemetery near Franklin. Deputies said a suspect pulled a gun while resisting arrest and a shootout ensued.

A Greenwood man had violated his parole and was wanted on a warrant when he pointed a gun at two sheriff’s deputies.

Derek J. Hobson, 25, was shot multiple times by two Johnson County sheriff’s deputies during a chase in a cemetery east of Franklin on Wednesday, according to a news release from Indiana State Police. The deputies feared for their lives when Hobson turned and pointed a semiautomatic pistol at them, the release said.

State police are investigating the shooting, which is common practice in police shootings and could take several weeks. When the investigation is complete, the information will be sent to the Johnson County prosecutor to review, Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said.

In past cases, the information was sent to the prosecutor to decide if the shooting was justified.

Neither deputy was injured in the shooting, the release said. The deputies involved were Dan Combs, 36, who has been a sheriff’s deputy for a year; and Lewis Wiser, 29, who has been a deputy for two years, the release said.

Both are on desk duty until the investigation is complete, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.

Both deputies shot at Hobson, but investigators cannot yet say whether Hobson fired at them, Cox said. He did not know how many shots had been fired.

Casings from the deputies’ weapons have been found, but not from Hobson’s gun. A bullet was in the chamber of Hobson’s gun, and two were trying to come out at the same time, which had jammed the gun, Cox said.

Investigators believe Hobson did fire the gun; but until casings from Hobson’s gun are found in the area of the shooting, they cannot be certain. Police using metal detectors and dogs continued searching for casings on Thursday, but finding them is difficult since they are not sure where Hobson was standing and what direction he may have fired, Cox said.

The shooting happened shortly before 2 p.m. after deputies were called to an area near the Shelby-Johnson county line. A resident had reported a man in the area carrying a backpack who looked suspicious. Deputies found Hobson in the cemetery near Second Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, north of State Road 44 on County Road 800E, and he matched the description the resident had given, the release said. The report and call to police are not being released by state police.

Residents told police that Hobson was in the cemetery kneeling and appeared to be praying, Cox said. Hobson’s family members told police he had no connection to the cemetery, he said.

Cox did not know how long the deputies spoke with Hobson but said one deputy would have been with Hobson and the other would have been in the car looking up his information. Hobson first gave deputies a false name then started to give them an identification card and ran, the release said. He also told them he was wanted on a warrant, Cox said.

The deputies tried to use their Tasers on Hobson, but neither Taser made a connection, and he broke away and ran. As he was running, Hobson turned and pointed a gun at both deputies. The deputies fired, striking Hobson multiple times, and he fell to the ground, the release said. Emergency workers were called, but Hobson died at the scene, the release said.

An autopsy of Hobson was set for Thursday afternoon, Coroner Craig Lutz said.

Investigators found a gun in Hobson’s hand with his finger on the trigger, police said Wednesday. Cox did not know whom the gun belonged to, but Hobson had been convicted of a felony and was not allowed to have a gun.

Hobson was wanted on a warrant for a battery charge in Marion County and was also on parole for a burglary case from Johnson County, the release said.

In April, Hobson was released from a short-term offender program and was supposed to report for parole, but he didn’t and was marked delinquent, Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said.

Hobson was arrested on burglary and theft charges in 2007 after police said he and a woman burglarized three Johnson County homes, stealing jewelry, guns, tools and electronics. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and in 2011 he asked for a modification of his sentence and was sent to a correctional facility in Edinburgh, according to court records.

Later that year, he became eligible for a community transition program, court records said. Those programs include day reporting and work release and are meant to transition inmates from prison to being released, Garrison said.

In June 2012, Hobson was charged with possession of paraphernalia. A warrant was issued, and his probation was revoked. In September, Hobson was sent back to prison. About a month later, he was eligible for the community transition program again, court records said.

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