The Herald Bulletin

July 12, 2013

Coroner: Elwood man shot himself in head

By Stuart Hirsch and Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

ELWOOD, Ind. — A man who barricaded himself and then shot himself in the crawlspace of a friend’s home Thursday night has been identified.

Michael P. Rickelman, 34, of Elwood, died from a single gunshot wound to the head, apparently self-inflicted, said Madison County Coroner Marian Dunnichay Friday.

Rickelman was at the center of a tense stand-off with law enforcement from late Thursday to early Friday morning which eventually required a SWAT presence. Elwood police and Madison County Sheriff’s deputies visited the home of a friend of the man in the 1200 block of K Street at about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday to execute a warrant.

According to public records, Rickelman had failed to appear for a sentencing hearing on Thursday. In May, Rickelman pleaded guilty to felony methamphetamine charges for an incident in 2010 and was likely facing time in prison.

The officers were given permission to search the home by the owner, and during their search several shots were fired, according to Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna.

“They were trying to find him to serve this warrant, but they did not expect a confrontation,” said Elwood City spokesman Jeff Howe.

Officers left the house after hearing the shots, established a protective perimeter outside, and called the Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team.

A Sheriff’s Department negotiator made several attempts to contact someone in the residence, with no response. Hanna said authorities waited outside the house for at least a few hours before acting to bring out Rickelman.

At 2:30 a.m., Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson announced chemical agents had been used along with a special camera that checked interiors areas of the residence. Police found Rickelman’s body in the crawlspace.

Hanna said he believes the friend knew Rickelman was there, but no charges have been filed yet. The incident is still under investigation.