Man pleads guilty in shooting of officer

A teen who recently admitted shooting a policeman near Tampico faces up to 30 years in prison.

Isiah Tyler Roger, 19, of Brownstown entered a guilty plea Friday in Jackson Circuit Court to a charge of attempted murder in the shooting of county Officer Rick Meyer, who was hit once in each shoulder. The incident occurred May 8, 2014.

Roger also pleaded guilty to a kidnapping charge from a separate incident that occurred three months after he went to jail for the shooting.

Meyer, who attended the hearing with his family and other police officers, said he was satisfied with the plea agreement, which avoids an emotional trial for his wife and three children.

“It has been tough, but the good Lord was looking out for me to keep me safe,” said Meyer, who was shot once in each shoulder by Roger while investigating a report of suspicious people at a bridge south of Tampico.

Roger’s sentencing is set for 3:30 p.m. June 29 in Jackson Circuit Court.

Jackson Circuit Court Senior Judge Frank Guthrie said if the court accepts the guilty pleas, Roger will be sentenced to 30 years for the attempted murder conviction and three years to be served consecutively for the kidnapping conviction.

Those three years will be suspended, and Roger will be placed on probation.

As a part of the plea agreement, two other charges from the shootout — aggravated battery, a Class B felony, and carrying a handgun with a prior conviction, a Class C felony — will be dismissed by the state.

Roger, who is represented by Indianapolis attorney Brooke Russell, also pleaded guilty to kidnapping, a Level 5 felony.

That charge stems from an incident Aug. 15, 2014, when Roger and another inmate at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown were fighting.

Jackson County Prosecutor AmyMarie Travis said Roger forcefully moved the other inmate from one location inside the jail to another, and in Indiana, that can result in a kidnapping charge.

The other inmate had minor injuries, she said. The battery resulting in bodily injury charged was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

“I think it will create a situation where the community can feel more comfortable that someone who did a very bad act against law enforcement, an act against society in general, will be removed from the streets,” Travis said.

The incident that left both Meyer and Roger wounded began around 7:06 p.m. May 8, 2014, when Meyer went to investigate a report of suspicious people at a bridge on State Road 39 just south of Tampico in southern Jackson County.

A nearby resident told a dispatcher there appeared to be juveniles walking along the highway with a trash bag and a can of gasoline acting suspiciously.

Meyer stopped his police cruiser on the bridge after watching two men disappear beneath the span.

Alexandrew Mullikin, who is now 22, of Vernon crawled out and spoke with Meyer, who radioed for backup because he was uncertain of what was going on.

Meyer said Mullikin was evasive about his identity before a background check revealed he was wanted on a warrant out of Jennings County.

Meyer handcuffed Mullikin and found two knives during a pat-down search, police said.

As Meyer questioned Mullikin about the second person, who later turned out to be Roger, Mullikin said he thought Roger had disappeared into a nearby woods.

Mullikin told police he then heard Roger yelling as he emerged from beneath the bridge and opened fire on Meyer, according to court records.

Meyer said after the first shot was fired at him, he felt pain in his shoulder and retreated around his car as more shots rang out behind him.

He heard one more blast as he ran another 30 to 40 yards before stopping to report he had been shot.

Meyer said he then fired at Roger as many as five times, hitting him once in the arm.

Both were flown to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after the incident. Meyer was released that night, and Roger was released later that week.

During an interview, Roger said he shot at Meyer because he became scared and tried to hide.

Roger was released from prison in February 2014 and was on parole after serving part of a sentence for a sexual assault conviction, according to court records.

Roger also said he decided that he “wanted to die by cop” when he pulled out his gun and came out from under the bridge and fired six rounds at Meyer, according to court records.

Meyer, 45, said Friday he’s lucky to have had no pain or lingering injuries from the shooting.

The Seymour resident continues to work as a police officer, and he said the situation made him appreciate life more.

As for his shooter, Meyer said he’s unsure if he forgives him.

“I don’t have any hard feelings toward him,” the 1988 Seymour High School graduate said.

“I guess I kind of feel like it’s my job. …. (He’s) just any other person I’ve arrested.”

Mullikin faces no Jackson County charges because of his involvement in the incident, according to court records.