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Suspect in deadly manhunt was granted an early release from prison in 2019

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 8:41 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - One day after a deadly manhunt in South Bend, more information is being learning about Rodney Ross, the 30-year-old suspect at the center of it all.

Court records indicate Ross’s criminal record, at least in Elkhart County, stretches back to July of 2017 when Ross was arrested and charged with one count of dealing methamphetamine, one count of possession of methamphetamine, and one count of illegal possession of a handgun.

On April 9th, 2018, Ross was found guilty and sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison -- 8 years at the Indiana Department of Corrections, and 2 years at Elkhart County Community Corrections.

On July 24th, 2019, nearly two years in prison, a motion was filed to modify Ross’s sentence. On September 12th, 2019, his motion was granted and Ross was released from prison on probation.

However, when Ross violated the terms of his probation, an arrest warrant was issued on May, 26th, 2020.

The warrant ultimately leading police to knocking on Ross’s door located near Lilac Road and Cleveland Road on Tuesday. That is when police say Ross opened fired at police while inside the house before fleeing on foot. Soon after, federal, state, and local police would get involved including local SWAT teams.

After police searched the surrounding area for almost four hours, Ross was located, but not before shooting and injuring St. Joseph County K-9 police dog, Luna, and a local SWAT team officer. Both have been treated and released, and are expected to fully recover, according to St. Joseph County Metro Homicide.

Captain Steven Noonan, executive officer for St. Joe County, who previously served on the South Bend Police Department as a former K-9 handler, says Luna was likely the first one to encounter Ross before he opened fire.

“She probably was the first one to get an indication that he was close," Noonan says. "The first thing that was going through my mind in the command post was to try and get veterinary service. It was a dynamic going on because we also had a neighboring department officer hit as well. And also, there was a suspect. Our mission is to preserve life but with the dog specifically, it was just to get him to veterinary services -- or get her to veterinary services as soon as possible.”

Doctor’s say K-9 officer Luna will need a long recovery and it is still undetermined if she will be able to return to service when she is healed.

A GoFundMe page has been setup to help pay for her medical expenses. To donate, click here.

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