An Indianapolis man is facing a charge of attempted murder after allegedly assaulting a Westfield city employee with a handgun last month.
Austin J. Weir, 38, was charged in Hamilton County Circuit Court Aug. 30 with Level 1 felony attempted murder, Level 5 felony battery with a deadly weapon, Level 6 felony battery resulting in moderate bodily injury and two Level 6 felony counts of pointing a firearm.
Authorities said that two victims flagged down police and said that a man had assaulted them. One of the victims, who said he worked for the City of Westfield Street Dept., told police that he and his co-worker had parked their vehicle on Grassy Branch Road near the intersection of 196th Street and Grassy Branch to trim grass.
According to a probable cause statement filed in the case, the victim said he noticed a black, older model pickup truck driving eastbound on 196th Street traveling at a high rate of speed and put his hand out to signal the driver to slow down. The driver of the vehicle allegedly told the victim to “get the (expletive) out of my way” and retrieved a handgun, chased one of the victims and struck him in the head with the weapon that caused him to fall to the ground, according to the probable cause statement.
While on the ground, it is alleged that Weir struck him again with the firearm and that a struggle occurred between the two men. Weir allegedly got up, pointed the handgun at the victim’s chest and pulled the trigger, according to the probable cause statement.
The victim told police that after Weir pulled to the side of the road on 196th Street, he began arguing with one of the victims, the probable cause statement said. As the two men were arguing, Weir swung at one of them, but was blocked by a Weed Eater that one of the victims was holding.
After hitting one of the victims two times on the top of his head, Weir allegedly got back into his truck, yelled an expletive and racial slur, then drove off eastbound on 196th Street, according to the probable cause statement. Officers from the Westfield Police Dept. were dispatched to the area of Scofield Ridge Boulevard and Hayward Way, where they found Weir’s truck parked on the street.
A police detective eventually saw Weir walk outside of a home where the pickup truck was parked and yelled at the suspect asking whose truck was parked behind him. Weir allegedly said, “I don’t have to answer that,” according to the probable cause statement.
Authorities said that Weir “began to act very fidgety, moving his hands around” and was eventually taken into custody. Police say they found a black semi-automatic handgun stuck in Weir’s waistband.
Weir allegedly told police that he was carrying the gun to protect his family and that he was attacked by two individuals carrying Weed Eaters and that he had to fight them off, according to the probable cause statement. One of the victims positively identified Weir as the individual who pointed a firearm and hit his co-worker, police said.
Weir, who was appointed an attorney in the case earlier this month, remains in the Hamilton County Jail on a $500,000 cash or surety bond, according to jail records. A pretrial conference in the case has been scheduled for Nov. 10 with a jury trial set at 9 a.m. Dec. 14.
Statement from Mayor Andy Cook:
The arrest of a suspect in the assault and attempted murder of a City of Westfield Street Department employee this week, shocked and stunned the citizens of our city. Two of our Street Department employees were involved in an unprovoked attack on Monday afternoon when they were assaulted by a male with a handgun who attempted to discharge the weapon at one of our employees. Fortunately, the gun did not fire. The victim was then pistol whipped before the suspect left the area shouting racial slurs at the two men.
This incident has left me shaken and angry. This behavior has no place in our society and it won’t be tolerated in this city. Neither will intolerance and racism. The safety of our employees has always been my priority as mayor and an assault on one is an assault on our city. I’m grateful for our diverse workforce and the women and men who proudly serve our citizens. They deserve our gratitude and respect, not mistreatment. I’m relieved that the victim of this vicious attack is recovering and will soon return to work. I also commend Westfield Police for making a swift arrest.
As a city and as a society, we must address the difficult questions as to why this type of behavior is spreading across the country. Are we ignoring mental health issues, or are the consequences of criminal actions no longer a sufficient deterrent? Regardless we must find answers and quickly.
For as long as I am mayor, violence and racism will never find safe harbor in our city.