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‘SWAT team’ finds no one home

‘SWAT team’ finds no one home
‘SWAT team’ finds no one home
Indiana State Police Emergency Response Team members walk toward Murray Woodward's home Monday afternoon. (Photo by Randy West)

No one was hurt when an Indiana State Police Emergency Response Team stormed a rural house trailer Monday afternoon looking for a man with a history of violence. Contrary to what police believed, no one was in the home.
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. is now looking for Murray Woodward, believed to be in his 40s, after he apparently escaped out the backdoor of his home into the woods in the isolated Dixie area of southwest Harrison County.
Police were acting on two past felony warrants issued for Woodward’s arrest for criminal recklessness and battery, said Harrison County Sheriff’s Detective Capt. Richard Bauman.
The incident began Monday morning when a Harrison County Highway Dept. crew arrived on dusty Dixie Road to roll it in preparation for asphalt. However, the 10-ton, single-drum roller the crew had left there Friday evening was gone. They followed its tracks behind Woodward’s twin trailers, where the roller had been used to smash cars. It was hung up on a car, police said.
The highway crew called the sheriff’s office, which dispatched Deputy Marty McClanahan to the scene about 9:30 a.m. McClanahan could not raise anyone in the home. He had the sheriff’s office run an NCIC background check on Woodward. When McClanahan was told about Woodward’s history and the outstanding warrants, he told the highway crew to leave. McClanahan retreated and called for backup, Bauman said.
Bauman and other officers came to the area but could not make contact with Woodward, although they thought they heard sounds like someone hammering inside. They believed Woodward was still in the home, and they didn’t know if other people might be inside with him. Woodward’s brother, Ben, came to the scene and also appealed for Woodward to come out.
Local police called for the 12-man South Zone ISP Emergency Response Team about 11 a.m., and specially trained and heavily armed officers started heading this way from Evansville, Jasper, Versailles, Seymour and Sellersburg. At one time, about 25 police cars lined the dusty road leading up the hill near Woodward’s trailers, which were 100 to 200 yards off Dixie Road. An ISP helicopter circled overhead.
County and state police secured the wooded perimeter in 95-degree heat, and negotiators tried for hours to contact Woodward with a public address system. Late in the afternoon, the ER team fired tear gas into the trailers and entered the home.
No shots were fired and no one was in the house, said ISP Sgt. Marvin Jenkins, the spokesperson for the ISP Sellersburg Post. He said the “SWAT team” went through its usual procedure, which always tries to use time to its advantage and persuade the subject to give up peacefully. “The last thing you want is anyone hurt or killed, and you don’t want the person inside injured either,” Jenkins said.
Bauman said the scene was cleared about 6 p.m.
Bauman said yesterday that police do not know where Woodward might be.