Southport Matters » Headline, Mayor, Public Safety, Southport » Southport Aware of Suspect 12 hours Before Murder

Southport Aware of Suspect 12 hours Before Murder

Mayor Testruth confirmed at the 21May12 Council meeting that he was indeed notified that Lori Barcroft was sleeping on a picnic table Friday night 18MAY12 - the evening before tragedy struck the Iseminger family and Southport community.  Barcroft was later arrested the next morning, 19MAY12 on suspicion of murder.  Testruth did not reveal if he alerted suspended SoPD Chief Randy Ellison.  A review of the MAY 2012 SoPD Patrol Schedule revealed that no SoPD officers were assigned to patrol the City during the time of the call.  In past years, Southport’s Chief of Police covered any open shifts and would have responded to incoming calls from City residents or officials.

Southport resident, Jim Prosch phoned Testruth Friday night, 18MAY12 to report a woman sleeping on a picnic table at the vacant Putt-Putt property near the Southport Rd. Dairy Queen restaurant. Only later did  Prosch make the connection that it was the same woman accused of shooting Bethel Memorial Pastor and Southport resident, Jaman Iseminger.  Barcroft was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and carried a backpack, according to Indianpolis Star reporter, Carrie Ritchie.  The weapon, a .22 caliber semi-automatic was later retrieved from Barcroft after an IMPD canine search found her a short distance from the church near McLaughlin and Pine streets.  No idea yet how Barcroft acquired the handgun.

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15 comments on “Southport Aware of Suspect 12 hours Before Murder

  1. This event is far more complex than we are hearing. Barcroft was deeply troubled, but the various relationships she has had over the years may play into the latest tragedy. I am hoping that more information is shared by those who know the facts. Knowing the facts of Barcroft’s background will enable authorities to help Barcroft and will allow the community to discover how to act more efficiently in the future.

    • Oh yes Roger. There is complexity on many different fronts. Family, neighbors, congregation and community as well as internal activities and external activities.

      We all want to know more and will have trouble for a long time digesting the slow flow of facts that trickle in. In Southport, we want to know whats going on at the SoPD. The Board of Public Safety was dismissed for inquiring about activites by Chief and Asst. Chief. We all want to know the truth.

  2. This all could have been prevented the night before if someone had checked? I only hope that the Mayor passed on the information to the police department. If it was not, the results ended in the death of a Southport citizen. If the police were called, what happened? The result still ended with the death of a Southport citizen and a true leader of the community. Even if it was not properly reported by the Mayor, wouldn’t routine patrol of the city by the police have discovered sleeping tresspassers? I hope Pastor Iseminger did not die because his city let him down.

  3. This headline is confusing. Did the Mayor confirm that he notified the Southport Police Department of the call he received, or did he confirm that he got the call and nobody knows if the police were called?

    • Dear Confused,

      I personally asked the mayor to dispel rumors that he (Testruth) had been called the night before by local citizens reporting the homeless woman in Southport. I was concerned that the tragedy could have been avoided if an adequate response occurred.

      He confirmed that he was indeed notified and explained to me that two SoPD officers [Roquet & trainee (McClintock)] did not report the homeless woman. I realize that he didn’t completely answer the question and we still don’t know if our officers responded or looked or interviewed the suspect.

      Some have explained that Southport officers are not typically scheduled for the shift described. It makes sense to confirm that we indeed had officers on patrol that evening.

      [Added 14JUN12] According to the Southport Patrol Schedule for May, no officers were assigned to the shift when Prosch called Testruth. The Mayor should have called Ellison directly and immediately. Ellison should have responded personally or called IMPD for dispatch.

      As qualified officers are removed from the force we know that fewer patrols are possible. The City doesn’t have (near) the same coverage as last year. Ellison’s response; “I’ve got some things in the works”.

      Others mention that IMPD should respond when SoPD is not available. Still others remind us that a record of the IMPD or SoPD dispatch records will accurately reflect activities by either department.
      I hope that we learn our team responded as well as any professional department would. It concerns me that the uncertified chief may not be as vigilant as our previous chief of police.

    • The headline [Mayor confirms SoPD notified of homeless supsect on Friday night] has been updated to reduce confusion.

  4. I thought I heard that Roquet was a Sgt. Detective for SoPD. If he was working that night what was he doing on patrol? Did they have other runs they were involved in at that time and could not respond? I read in the Southside Times that Roquet was given an award for arresting that other murder suspect on Brewer St., around Christmas. I heard that the prosecutor dropped those charges and said that the man acted in self defense? Who gets awards for arresting a victim? Is any of this true?

    • Dear Robert,

      I can’t confirm that officer Roquet is a Sgt. or Detective. (see below, same comment)

      Most reserve SoPD officers in the past have been assigned to patrols and many serve in dual capacities. In a department as small as the SoPD, we need to benefit from their service in any qualified capacity. Often, they are committed to a patrol schedule and use their additional training when called upon. The City surely doesn’t need (nor can afford) a full time, dedicated investigator but we do need to have somebody with experience and training available when needs arise.

      As it happens, SoPD officers can and do provide back-up service for IMPD officers. As mayor, I directed Chief Davis to prioritize patrols by our officers within Southport. I wanted all of our efforts directed inside the City. Realistically, that isn’t practical. It doesn’t make sense to prevent our officers from attending to ANY other officer in need. To me, that didn’t mean traffic stops outside of town or attending to personal property damage (accidents without injury) far across the township. Among many competing thoughts, I considered IMPD to be responsible for the entire county (including Southport), IMPD was adequately funded and our SoPD attention was required in Southport. If we (Southport) were spending $60-80,000 for public safety, we should be directing our attention in OUR neighborhoods. Chief Davis listened and I counted on him to filter application of safety resources supplied by our officers, in and out of Southport. As far as I was concerned, it worked well.

      Regarding the Christmas 2011 event; yes, it was Officer Roquet who first responded to an IMPD dispatch. Yes, Roquet was given an award for arresting the murder suspect in the Brewer Street homicide and yes, it appears that the charges against this suspect were dropped by the prosecutor. I do wish I knew more about the entire incident.

  5. I have been reading everything that has been written on the website, I am appalled at how you are constantly slamming The Council, Mayor, SoPD, etc.

    I have been to so many meetings when you were Mayor and you were called out on so many issues and you chose to keep quiet about it all…..You thrive on slamming people and you should be ashamed. No one can predict what others actions will be, or when a tragedy will occur.

    I have one question: Do ever have anything nice to say about anyone at all? Instead of using your page to constantly slam the Mayor, Council, SoPD, etc. Why dont you look at the positives and say how wonderful it is to live in Southport? After all didn’t you grow up here?

    I am sure I will get slammed with this response but that is fine by me, I have thick skin and can take whatever comes my way.

    • Dear Dona,

      Thanks for reading the articles on our SouthportMatters website and especially for adding a comment. I hope you continue to contribute. Without meaningful critique, the content seems like everybody is drinking the same Kool-Aid.

      I hope that you find my responses respectful of your concerns using two threads. The second to follow.

      First Dona, I agree that no one can predict when a tragedy will occur. I’m sure your reference is the senseless act of violence suffered by Pastor Iseminger on Saturday. Many of us were shocked to learn of his demise and the way it occurred. Naively, few of us could have predicted that anything like this would occur in Southport. The actions of an apparently deranged individual stunned us all.

      Having acknowledged this/your specific point, it also bears considering how this tragedy might have been prevented. Just because you can’t predict precisely where and when the next fatal traffic accident will occur doesn’t mean we should avoid wearing seatbelts or making vehicles safer for all to drive. My point in bringing up these issues for discussion isn’t to slam the SoPD or the mayor or the council. My point is that there was a chance to intervene in the sequence of events so that this specific tragedy might have been prevented.

      Here are my concerns voiced in the form of questions.
      Did the mayor receive reports of this (apparently deranged) homeless person before the tragedy? He has said that he did.
      Did the mayor pass on the report through the proper channels?
      Did the SoPD or IMPD respond adequately and appropriately?
      Was this transient interviewed and what was the conclusion of the police response?
      Did they find a gun in the course of their review? How and where did she acquire the handgun?
      Did they learn if this transient was a danger to herself or others?
      Could she have been transported to a health care facility or homeless shelter?

      I and many others want to know answers to these questions.

      If these questions generate a positive and constructive response to each concern, our own mayor and our own police department deserves to be commended – and it is important that they be given credit where credit is due. By all means, shout from the roof tops that our department is part of the solution. We can all share in something nice to say.

      If we find something other than glowing reports, we should also shout it from the roof tops. Let’s get the dirty laundry out in the open so we can clean it up.
      My suspicions are aroused when concerned citizens serving on the Public Safety Board are dismissed when they bring forward evidence of missing certifications, illegal activities like impersonating a police officer and clear civil rights violations. These allegations are not simply voiced irritations. The records are clear and the response from Ellison and Testruth confirm the suspicions.

      • Secondly, and regarding your question of saying anything nice about Southport.

        If you attended many meetings while I was mayor, you did see me getting called out on many issues. I was seldom quiet about my opinions. Although I didn’t thrive on slamming people, there was some satisfaction in verbally sparring with those who wanted to throw mud without offering facts. Often, there were ignorant accusations without foundation or necessary understanding of the issues. The odds were stacked against me and comments were often vicious. There were also some comments (that I) made during those meetings that I wish I could take back. Some were delivered in poor taste, but am I ashamed? not the least.

        I am proud to live in Southport and just as proud to have served in public office. It hasn’t always been easy to stay positive but I believe that I have been most of the time.

        To support this contention, I need only to point out the many Southport Matters publications that were created while serving as mayor. I started in 2008 with a simple quarterly newsletter that grew to 8 full pages in newspaper format, printed and distributed to over 2,000 homes in and around Southport. Over 1,500 views accompanied each online issue. I frequently described the many people who contributed to our city and our efforts. In these issues, my team clarified our visions, described our strategies and advanced positive achievements. We took credit for successes and failures alike. We pointed out partnerships with local and regional institutions.

        You are encouraged to stop by the new web site for the City of Southport and review those many publications. It would be my pleasure to send them your way at your request.

        My challenge to you Dona is to find one person who has actually published or written half as many positive things about Southport as I have. Many people talk the talk but will not walk the walk. I am surely guilty of seeing many wrongs but should never be accused of not thinking or shouting of a positive and better future for my community.

        Thanks again for reading and contributing. I’m glad you have a thick skin and the nerve to publish your thoughts and concerns. Please consider adding your full name so that others can know of your concerns, personally,

  6. In response to Donna.

    Are you suggesting that none of these issues being discussed are relevant to ask? Do you have no concerns on anything you have read.

    I have to say that I do have concerns, and if these present issues had occurred on former mayor Thoman’s watch, we would be just as concerned. I also had been to many meetings in the past administration, but being upset with not having prayer before meetings is just not the equivilant to having Police Chief and an Assistant Chief not being qaulified to serve in that capacity is a whole different topic.

    I hope that everyone that volunteers their time and talents, or gets paid, cares about the City and wants what is best for the community. Part of loving our City requires addressing some ugly truths so mistakes are not repeated in the future. The future of Southport viability should demand it and stop looking the other way when it is an administration we may not want to criticize.

  7. I was present at Monday Council Meeting. You can’t hear anything being said by the Mayor.

    Does the city provide copies of the taped meeting where I can just buy the video, and watch it in the comfort of my living room and save me the trouble of finding a parking spot? I thought I heard the Mayor mumble the firing of his appointed Public Safety Members. The whole meeting never addressed any of the current issues facing the city in regard to the media and stories/rumors swirling throughout the community.

    Some people really want to know what is going on? I am really suprised of the Mayors actions, as he went and talked to everyone before he was elected saying he was going to clean things up and how things were going to improve with our Police Department and lines of communication.

    What information does the Public Safety Board have that has led to the resignation of an assistant Chief? A Chief that has been acting as one, but is apparently not. I thought I heard the Mayor mumble during a question about the Chief that he did not hire the Chief to be an officer, he hired him to be Chief? Did Chief know that?

    When Thoman asked a question about the money report not completed and ready, the Council yelled, Were your’s done on time? So much outrage on the clerk before, but now? I am about done coming to the Southport meetings. I just want to purchase a tape from now on,and avoid watching everyone avoid dealing with the serious issues of what they were elected to deal with.

    I could not leave fast enough because it is just really sad to see so much hate, ignorance, and denial in Southport. Please find out where I can purchase our community meetings and at what cost. Thank you and good luck.

    • Dear Point,

      It is terribly hard to hear and even harder to understand the mumbling. The meetings are recorded and (3) copies are provided to the CT at the end of the meeting. You might be able to obtain a copy by providing a blank disc or paying the vendor a minimal fee. Alternatively, copies should be available the next day from the CT for a reasonable fee.

      No, Testruth didn’t explain much at all about the allegations. He repeated much the same BS as he did at the contentious Safety Board meeting by explaining he had addressed each Bandy’s and Harrison’s concerns. Actually, he didn’t at all. He didn’t address the illegal impersonation of an officer (by Bick). He didn’t address violations of civil rights. Bick used a gun, a badge and emergency lights to detain a private citizen. I’m sure that some of these allegations led to Wild Bill’s resignation.

      Yep! Councilor Harrison conveniently forgets her venomous attacks on CT Hildebrand for not offering a CT Fund Report each meeting. Team Southport was going to do things differently and clean things up. It appears that they are conveniently sweeping the Safety Board allegations under the carpet.