Anderson police: Suspect shot self during May 7 traffic stop

May 13—ANDERSON — A suspect involved in a May 7 police-action shooting in Anderson shot himself in the head, an investigation by Anderson police concluded.

The suspect, Ross Morelock, 39, of Anderson, remains in critical condition at an Indianapolis hospital, according to authorities. Pendleton police officer Jerry Branson suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder during the May 7 incident. He was treated and released from Community Hospital Anderson.

The Madison County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday that Officer Branson was legally justified in firing shots at Morelock, who was wanted on three felony warrants, including two drug charges.

According to the prosecutor's statement, based on an investigation by Anderson police, Branson was driving in north Anderson about 2:30 p.m. May 7, attempting to find a motorist involved in an accident on Interstate 69.

Branson, who was in uniform and driving a marked patrol car, was driving back toward Pendleton when he saw a car that had been involved in a May 1 Pendleton Police Department investigation.

Branson stopped the car at the GetGo at Broadway and West School Street.

The driver of the car, according to the prosecutor's statement, was Amelia Peters, 23, Anderson. Morelock was in the passenger seat. Both, reportedly, were "persons of interest" in the May 1 incident.

Peters was arrested and Branson radioed for additional officers to come to the scene. Morelock ignored three verbal commands to keep his hands where they could be seen, according to the police report.

Branson gave two more verbal commands for Morelock to place his hands on the dashboard, police said.

When those commands were ignored, Branson drew his weapon and pointed it at Morelock, just before Morelock produced a handgun and pointed it at the officer.

There was a 10-second exchange of gunfire, with Branson firing four rounds and Morelock firing six times, striking the officer in the shoulder.

According to the press release, Morelock exited the car and shot himself in the head.

"During a traffic stop on May 7, 2024, Officer Branson was confronted by a subject who was wanted on multiple felony warrants, lied about his identity and disobeyed five separate, loud, verbal commands," the prosecutor's statement reads.

"The subject drew a handgun and pointed that handgun at Officer Branson. Under any reasonable application of the law to these facts, Officer Branson was justified in using deadly force as self-defense and the defense of others."

Morelock faces possible charges of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, and battery with a deadly weapon.

No charges have been filed against Peters.

The investigation is ongoing.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.