A Jackson Township man with a previous history of mental issues was taken
safely into custody on Wednesday after he barricaded himself into his home
on C.R. 1050N for some nine hours, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said.
The man was identified as Eric Martin, 45, of 363E 1050N.
He was being detained this morning at the Porter County Jail on a
prosecutor’s probable-cause hold, PCSP Sgt. Larry LaFlower told the
Chesterton Tribune. Formal charges were expected late today or early
The PCSP became involved in the incident at 11:49 a.m., after a staffer at
the Chesterton Medical Center, at 650 Dickinson Road, reported that a
patient there had been injured by his son, Eric Martin, LaFlower said.
Martin’s father advised that his son had held a knife to this throat,
inflicting several lacerations to his neck, and beat him about the face.
LaFlower said that the elderly man’s eyes were swollen and his face bruised.
Martin’s father also advised that he’d managed to flee their home and that
his wife, already outside the residence, had then driven him to the
Chesterton Medical Center.
The PCSP subsequently learned that, only four minutes before the Chesterton
Medical Center had called 911, Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa had
formally ordered commitment paperwork on Martin, for a minimum 72-hour stay
at Porter-Starke Services, LaFlower said.
At 12:06 p.m., after obtaining a house key from Martin’s mother, officers
went to speak to Martin at the residence. As one of the officers used the
key to open the door, it was slammed shut in his face from inside and Martin
informed officers that he was in possession of a firearm, LaFlower said.
Officers then became aware of Martin’s efforts to barricade himself: there
was the sound of furniture being moved and of doors being secured by ropes.
Officers retreated to establish a perimeter and the SWAT Team was mustered.
A number of standard protocols were also implemented, LaFlower said:
electric and natural-gas service to the Martin home was
disconnected--leaving a number of neighboring residences without power as
well--and C.R. 1050N between C.R. 350E and C.R. 400E was closed to traffic.
No one was evacuated but neighbors who’d been out and about when the
incident began--perhaps a dozen of them--were not permitted access to their
Meanwhile, officers were unable to make contact with Martin inside the
house. The family has no land-line telephone and Martin no cell phone, so
attempts were made to communicate via a squad car’s PA system but Martin did
not respond, LaFlower said.
Shortly after the scene was secured, the SWAT Team began to deploy
“multiple” CS gas canisters through the windows, LaFlower said. CS is an
agent intended to produce a tearing of the eyes and other debilitating
effects but it appeared not to incapacitate Martin, as he began firing an
unknown type of rifle through the walls of the home and in officers’
direction, LaFlower said.
No one was hit. LaFlower estimated that Martin fired around six shots.
At that point, with the scene secure, the decision was made to “hold tight,”
LaFlower said. But at 4:30 p.m., after several hours without any sign of
movement inside the residence, two robots were deployed: one belonging to
the PCSP Bomb Squad, the other to the Munster Police Department. The robots
are equipped with camera, microphones, and lights and can be
At least one of the robots was placed inside the house, LaFlower said, after
its operator guided it through the front door, which officers had already
partially breached. “Robots will show you where a person’s not and where he
most likely is,” LaFlower noted, and in this case the robot indicated the
likelihood that Martin was inside a particular bedroom, because its door was
the only one which the robot was unable to open.
Entry to the residence was then forced, LaFlower said, by means of the
PCSP’s Peacekeeper armored vehicle, to which chains were attached. A
grappling-type device was fitted to the other end of the chains, the device
thrown through a window, and the window unit itself then pulled from the
wall by the vehicle, LaFlower said.
More CS gas was deployed and the SWAT Team entered the bedroom, where they
found Martin in a closet. Martin was ordered to exit the closet, he refused
to comply, and at least one “less lethal” foam beanbag round was fired at
him, LaFlower said.
He was then taken into custody, around 9 p.m.
Martin was naked and before being provided clothing he was “hosed down,”
LaFlower said, to wash off the CS residue. He was then medically cleared at
Porter Regional Hospital and transported to PCJ.
LaFlower did say that, as of mid-morning today, Judge Alexa’s commitment
order had not been served on Martin.
LaFlower extended the PCSP’s gratitude both to Porter EMS and in particular
to the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department, which was on the scene
for very nearly the duration of the incident. The LTVFD not only provided
fire protection--in the unlikely event a CS canister started something
burning--but lighting at the scene after dark. In addition, the LTVFD
provided the necessary hooks and chains used to remove the window, LaFlower
Evidence technicians were processing the scene today, LaFlower added.