On December 12, 2011, Indianapolis Metro Police Officer Dwayne “Dewey” Runnels was shot after pulling over a red Chevrolet Impala linked to a shooting and robbery earlier that day. When Officer Runnels pulled up behind the car in an apartment complex parking lot, 23-year-old felon Demetrius Martin emerged and opened fire with a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, striking Officer Runnels in the leg. Martin was killed by return fire from Officer Runnels, who made a full recovery and has returned to duty. According to the ATF, Martin obtained his gun through a straw purchase at KS&E Sports carried out by his acquaintance Tarus Blackburn, Jr.
The defendants moved to dismiss the case because of an Indiana law which defendants argued gave them immunity from liability for any cases in which a gun they sold was used in a criminal shooting. The trial judge denied the defendants’ motion, and the defendants immediately appealed the ruling. Brady attorneys briefed and argued the appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals, which issued a ruling in Officer Runnels’ favor. The defendants then appealed to the Supreme Court of Indiana, which will hear oral arguments the end of August.
Representing Officer Runnels with the Brady Center are Roger Pardieck of the Pardieck Law Firm, and Michael Schissel, and a team of attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP in New York City and Washington, D.C.