An Indiana inmate accused of gunning down the mother of his child last year used his handcuffs to strangle a sheriff’s deputy to death Monday before stealing and crashing the officer’s van in a botched escape attempt, authorities said.
Alleged double-murderer Orlando Mitchell, 34, was returning from a hospital visit around 11:30 a.m. when he pounced on Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy John Durm, 61, inside the sally port of the Criminal Justice Center Complex, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Joseph Forestal said at a press conference.
Mitchell stepped behind the 38-year law enforcement veteran and “(raised) his hands above Durm’s head and (placed) them around Durm’s neck,” using the handcuff chain to choke Durm, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Fox 59.
The inmate and officer dropped to the ground, but Mitchell allegedly continued to strangle Durm “until Durm quits moving.”
Police said Mitchell then used Durm’s handcuff key to free himself before stealing the transport wagon and driving through the gates of the detention center.
The inmate only made it about half a mile before crashing into a utility pole and was quickly apprehended by pursuing officers, one of which received minor injuries while arresting Mitchell.
Durm was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to “ligature strangulation,” the Coroner’s Office ruled.
Mitchell, who also sustained minor injuries in the assault, was taken back to the hospital but was charged with murder after being discharged.
The entire attack was caught on video, according to the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.
“Another tragic day for our community and law enforcement generally,” Forrestal said. “Our condolences go out to the family of the deputy who lost his life today serving this community.”
Durm came from a law enforcement family, Forrestal said. His wife, Ramona, also serves as a Marion County sheriff’s deputy and their son is training to be a corrections officer. Their two other children are serving overseas in the military.
Forrestal said the veteran will receive multiple honors for his service in the weeks to come. He was honored Wednesday with a hero’s processional while his body was moved to a funeral home.
Durm’s accused killer had been in jail for allegedly killing his son’s mother in September 2022.
Investigators said Mitchell ambushed Krystal Walton after dropping her children off at daycare and fatally shot her.
He was reportedly tracked down by police several hours later and shot in the leg before being taken into custody.
Mitchell had a history of violence in the year before the murder, including charges for choking Walton while she was pregnant and telling her he was “gonna mess around and kill” her.
Police said Mitchell’s own mother told police her son warned he was going to kill Walton.
“If he couldn’t see his son, she wasn’t gonna be in his life either,” Mitchell allegedly told his mother.
Mitchell has pleaded not guilty to murder in that case and is scheduled to go to trial in October 2023.
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