MCSD Lieutenant Jimmie Van Wingate, 27, was shot during an attempted hold-up at Preston's Super Market, 7021 North Keystone Avenue on Saturday, June 13, 1970, shortly after 10:00 pm.
Earlier in the evening, three masked bandits had entered the store from the rear as the assistant manager was closing for the night. One of the bandits pointed a pistol at the manager and forced him to open the safe. The bandits then locked him in a washroom.
Lt. Wingate and fellow deputy, Emery Summers, arrived at the grocery store shortly after a burglar alarm was touched off when the bandits opened a cash drawer.
The deputies walked to the front of the store, tapped on the door and took out their pistols. Receiving no response, they checked the building's other entrances, and then returned to the front door.
In response to the deputies' knock at the door, the bandits ordered the manager out of the washroom and told him to answer the door. As he did so, the manager bolted through the door and ran outside, saying something about a man and guns. One of the suspects, Charles W. Cotton, followed the manager and immediately began firing a weapon. The deputies returned fire.
Both Deputy Summers and Lt. Wingate, as well as the suspect Cotton, were hit. Cotton died at the scene. The deputies were taken to General Hospital, both having been wounded in the abdomen. Lt. Wingate died at 11:00 am on Sunday, June 14. Deputy Summers survived his injuries.
The other two hold-up men escaped the scene on foot. A fourth man was believed to have been in the neighborhood, waiting to pick them up in a black and yellow Rambler. An intensive manhunt was ordered, with all deputies working 12-hour shifts and officers of other local, state, and federal agencies involved. Two arrests were made; however the convictions were reversed on appeal.
The reversal of one of the convictions, that of Harry Adams, was heard before the Indiana Supreme Court on the issue of whether a search warrant issued for removal of a bullet in the suspect's body was legal. The bullet was believed to have been fired from Lt. Wingate's pistol during the gun battle. In a 3-2 split decision, the Court found the surgical procedure to be an unlawful intrusion on the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.
Lt. Wingate was a member of the MCSD Reserve Division. He had been appointed on October 21, 1968, and his badge number was 108. Lt. Wingate attended Indiana University. He had been employed as a programmer by the American United Life Insurance Company for four years.
Lt. Wingate was survived by his wife, Elaine. Services were held at East 38th Street Christian Church, with nearly 500 people in attendance. More than 75 Marion County Sheriff's patrol cars led the funeral procession to the Washington Park East Cemetery for burial.
Source: The Indianapolis Star, June 14, 15,16,17, 18, 1970. Adams v. State, 299 N.E. 2nd 834 (1973).