Motel ambush wounds 2 Ind. officers; suspects flee

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. – An ambush at a southern Indiana motel seriously wounded two police officers and set off a multistate manhunt for the two shooting suspects.

The Jeffersonville officers were approaching a room in the motel off Interstate 65 Thursday evening to investigate suspicious activity, when the suspects started shooting, said Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin. At least one officer returned fire, but it was unclear whether he hit anyone.

Cpl. Dan Lawhorn and Patrolman Keith Broady were able to get back to their vehicles and report the shooting, said Jeffersonville Detective Todd. Both underwent surgery at University Hospital in nearby Louisville, Ky., and were listed in critical condition early Friday, a hospital spokesman said.

Broady, 32, was shot in the chest in an area not protected by his bulletproof vest, while Lawhorn, 39, was shot in the right leg, Hollis said.

Police identified the suspects as 22-year-old Vincent D. Windell Jr., who has an address in New Albany, Ind., and 37-year-old Robert Datillo of Jeffersonville. Authorities were searching for the men in Indiana and Kentucky.

Hollis said police found drugs in the second-floor room.

“This man fired on two police officers … so he may be at a place or state of mind where he has nothing to lose,” Hollis said.

A witness told WHAS-TV in Louisville he saw one of the suspects standing in the middle of the road after the shooting.

“He was screaming and hollering and yelling, he said he shot a cop, and kicked at the car when we drove by,” said Terry French.

About 70 people stood vigil at the hospital early Friday, including chaplains and widows of slain police officers.

Lawhorn has been on the Jeffersonville force for 11 years and Broady, 4 1/2, Hollis said.

“You never want to think this could happen,” said Jeffersonville Police Col. Timothy S. Deeringer. “You know it can. You know the reality’s there. It does happen and you never know when it’s going to strike.”

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