GALLIPOLIS — Charges against a man accused of shooting and severely wounding a Gallipolis Police Officer last week have been bound over to the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County and will be heard by a grand jury.
During a hearing on Tuesday in the Gallipolis Municipal Court, Judge Margaret Evans bound over the case against Cole C. Miller, 28, Gallipolis, after determining that there was probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the charges against him — attempted aggravated murder and felonious assault.
A charge of aggravated burglary was dismissed by the State of Ohio prior to the hearing.
Miller was arrested during the early morning hours of September 24 after he allegedly opened fire on several police officers that had arrived at his residence on McCormick Road.
During the incident, the defendant reportedly shot Gallipolis Police Department Patrolman Jamie Bartels in the upper arm after he and other officers had responded to the residence in reference to a domestic violence situation.
Bartels was rushed to Holzer Medical Center by a fellow officer and was later flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital where he remains.
During the preliminary hearing, in his effort to produce substantial credible evidence that a crime was committed and the defendant committed it, Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins called two witnesses to testify before the court on their observations that evening — Special Agent Mike Trout of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) and Deputy Fred Workman of the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office.
Trout was the first to speak on the events of that evening.
The special agent, who is the lead investigator on the case, reported that he was dispatched to the scene in Gallia County after 1 a.m. on September 24.
Upon his arrival, Trout reported that he spoke to the officers on scene and later traveled to the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office where the suspect, Cole Miller, was being held.
He subsequently made contact with Miller, mirandized him and proceeded to interview him at approximately 7 a.m. that morning.
“He said were probably going to be certain questions he didn’t want to answer and that he wasn’t going to answer those questions, but he did want to speak with us,” Trout stated and began to relay to the court information he had gleaned from Miller that evening.
“Mr. Miller said that he had had a bad day — had had a bad couple of weeks — was not feeling all that well mentally, that he had went to the hospital several times and gotten medication,” Trout stated. “He, I believe, had argued with his mother earlier in the day and then he took a bunch of the medication that he was prescribed and was going to just go to sleep and not wake up.”
The investigator further stated that Miller reported to him that due to a disturbance in the apartment next to his — his uncle’s residence — he could not sleep. So, he took his shotgun next door, told them to be quiet and fired off a few shotgun rounds before returning to his own residence.
Gallipolis Police Officers Bartels and Shallon Shuldt later arrived on scene and were followed by Deputy Workman who arrived quickly thereafter.
“He said that he saw police officers moving around outside of his residence,” Trout stated. “He said he could have killed the female officer several times, but eventually he saw a male officer — he described him as a big, male officer — and he said he shot in his direction to make sure that the police knew that he meant business.”
During his interview, Miller then told the investigator that after he realized he had struck an officer, he began to panic, put his gun down and put his hands outside and slowly exited the residence. He complied with the officers’ orders and was arrested.
Attorney for the defense, Bill Eachus, later questioned Trout about his knowledge of Miller’s alleged medical condition, the part drugs may have played that night and his demeanor prior to and during the interview.
Trout stated that he was aware that Miller had been transported to the hospital that evening for the medication he had ingested prior to the incident and, after speaking with him, he felt he could proceed with the interviewing process.
“When I asked him whether he wanted to talk with us or not, his faculties seemed to be with him. He knew that there would be questions that he didn’t want to answer,” Trout said. “I felt that he was okay to interview.”
Workman, who was the third officer on scene and a witness to the shooting, was the next to address the court on Tuesday morning.
The deputy reported that he was contacted by dispatch that evening in regard to a domestic violence situation on McCormick Road — a situation involving an individual kicking in his neighbor’s door and shooting a vehicle near the residence.
The deputy reported that, at the time of the call, he was in the southern end of the county near Bladen Road.
“I was the only road patrol deputy assigned to the road that night. I requested the dispatch center to contact the city police, especially since it was barely outside of the city limits, and they advised me that they would respond,” Workman said.
At the time of the initial contact from dispatch, Workman stated that had been en route to a meth lab call and, as one of only two meth lab technicians in the county, was responding to assist with that situation.
Workman quickly turned and made his way back toward McCormick Road to assist the city unit that had been dispatched to the scene.
Upon his arrival, Workman stated that he made note of the location of Officers Bartels and Shuldt, who were taking cover behind a vehicle parked at the apartments.
Workman stated that he first observed the suspect at the door of his apartment aiming his weapon in the direction of Officer Shuldt.
“Observed a door come open, and I observed a male subject with a shotgun come outside the apartment. I couldn’t get a full, clear picture of the male subject. From my vantage point, all I could see was his arms, half of his torso and his head. I observed him fire a shot in the direction of Officer Shuldt,” Workman stated and reported that Officer Shuldt, who was standing near the front of the residence next to a pickup truck, rolled away just prior to the shot being fired.
“At that time, I thought she’d been shot. At that time, I thought she was hit,” Workman said.
The suspect then reportedly disappeared in the dark apartment.
Workman stated that he yelled at Officer Shuldt to get behind cover, while hearing an additional two shots being fired. After a third shot was fired, he realized that Bartels had been hit.
“I heard another shot and Officer Bartels said, ‘I’m hit. I’m hit,’” Workman said.
Workman stated that he radioed dispatch and then observed Bartels making his way toward him.
“At that time, I observed Officer Bartels come back toward me to his right. Officer Bartels, for a lack of better term, was kind of dragging himself toward me. And, I observed, at the back of the SUV, behind cover, he dropped to his knees and dropped his shotgun,” Workman said. “At that time, I thought, ‘Wow! What in the world is going on here? This has gone bad.’”
Following this, Workman stated that he continued to give commands to Miller who surrendered soon thereafter and was cuffed by Shuldt.
The deputy reported that he did not directly see the suspect fire any rounds and, at the time of the incident, wasn’t immediately sure if there was only one individual involved in the shooting.
“I never really laid eyes on the suspect again once he went back from the initial shot. I could see flashes coming from the door,” he said. “Another thing that really put me on edge was, when Officer Bartels was shot, he told me, ‘I think the shot came from over there.’ It was that point that I really became concerned because I felt like I wasn’t sure if there was ‘A’ another shooter or ‘B’ he had came out of the back of the apartment and flanked us. So, I was severely concerned because, at that point, there was just myself and Officer Shuldt with Bartels down. That was it.
“It was a really chaotic, scary and horrifying scene. There is no other way to describe it,” he said.
Workman stated that, after he and Shuldt took the suspect into custody, he realized that Bartels had already been transported from the scene by his fellow officer, Chris Withee.
“All I can tell you about that is, I remember feeling a sense of relief. I heard a cruiser come up the hill and then, almost as quickly as I heard it get there, I heard it leave,” he said.
The case against Miller will be heard during an upcoming grand jury session in the common pleas court.
His bond remains at $1 million, 10 percent.