Thursday, February 11, 2016

Terry Sheets (Photo Supplied)
Man arrested in Elkhart shooting claimed self-defense
Posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on April 22, 2013 at 5:54 p.m.

ELKHART — A man accused of shooting and killing a man early Saturday morning, April 20, claimed he was defending a witness and himself during an altercation with the victim.

Terry Sheets, 26, of Elkhart, was arrested on a preliminary charge of murder Saturday evening, about 10 hours after the shooting. A probable cause affidavit filed in Elkhart Superior Court 1 accuses Sheets of murder and criminal recklessness with a firearm, though formal charges had not been filed as of Monday afternoon.

According to the affidavit, Sheets was in his home at 2801 Toledo Road, Apt. 1517, when a physical altercation took place between Matthew Bark, 24, and Nary Try.

The affidavit states after the altercation, Bark and Try moved into a bedroom on the west side of the apartment as Sheets entered the kitchen. Try told police that at that time Bark went into the closet of the bedroom, took out a shotgun and pointed it at the bedroom door. Try noticed a handgun was poking into the bedroom.

As Bark raised the shotgun, pointing out the bedroom, he yelled “drop your gun,” Try told officers with the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. Try said he then heard Sheets’s voice, telling Bark to drop his gun. As Bark yelled back, he was shot.

Bark, 24, died from a gunshot wound at Memorial Hospital of South Bend.

Try told police that after the shooting she took the handgun from Sheets and called police. Sheets stayed at the scene.

Sheets admitted during the investigation that he had the ability to leave the apartment during the altercation and that he could have called police too. He also admitted that while Bark did not have a way out from the apartment, aside from a back window, Sheets did have a way out to run if necessary.

Still, Sheets maintained he was defending himself. He also told police he was defending Try, though he admitted she never called for help during the altercation.

Sheets told police he kept the handgun, a Glock Model 21, on top of a refrigerator, with 12 rounds in the magazine and without a round in the chamber. Sheets said he kept the round out of the chamber to “... Have an extra second to think about it. To make a choice.”

During their investigation, police determined a total of five shots were fired. Two rounds struck Bark. Another round went through a common wall shared by Bark’s apartment and a neighboring apartment. The round went through a mattress of the neighboring apartment and was recovered underneath the bed. The other two rounds were lodged in the walls of Bark’s apartment and were unrecoverable.

Police found a round chambered in the shotgun Bark handled, but no shots were fired from it and it had the safety on at the time it was recovered.