Lt. Robert C. Atwell, 38, was shot during an exchange of gunfire with an armed suspect during a disturbance at a trailer in the Pondarosa Mobile Home Court at 3559 Cossell Road on Thursday, November 2, 1972. A woman who lived at the trailer at 3513 Dogie Road called police at 11:55 pm to complain that her estranged husband, Robert Cory, had threatened her and their 4-year old daughter. The Cory’s had been separated for about six months prior to the incident. Robert had been under psychiatric care and had peace bonds and restraining orders against him. Hearing his brother, Corporal Charles Atwell, receive the call to the trailer home, Lt. Atwell went in on the run to assist him. Arriving first, Lt. Atwell exited his car. He got only a few feet when he heard shots from the vicinity of the Cory trailer. Before he could take cover, he was struck on the side of the forehead by one of the slugs. Seconds later, IPD officers David Cress and Stephen Keers pulled up. They had both just gone off duty when they heard the call. The windshield of Officer Keers’ car was riddled with shotgun pellets, some of which struck Officer Keers who was wounded slightly. Within moments, other police and sheriff cars arrived and engaged Cory in battle. Lt. Atwell was moved from the line of fire and transported by ambulance to hospital where he died shortly after noon on Tuesday, November 7. Cory died at the scene from what was believed to be a self-inflicted injury. Lt. Atwell was survived by his wife, Marilyn, and two daughters. He grew up in the Ben Davis High School area, and was graduated from that school in 1951. He served with the US Army in Korea. A golfer and a bowler, for a time he was assistant golf pro at Speedway Golf Course before being appointed to the sheriff’s department in April 1955. Lt. Atwell worked in the jail and dispatch divisions before being assigned to road patrol. In 1963, he was assigned to the detective division, and in January 1970 was promoted to lieutenant in the road patrol as a shift commander. Services were held in the Valley Mills Christian Church. Burial was in the West Newton Cemetery.Shot on November 2, Lt. Atwell would have celebrated his 39th birthday on November 12.
Source: Indianapolis Star, November 3-4, 8, 1972.