Suspect charged in shooting of Gallipolis officer


September 24, 2012

GALLIPOLIS — A suspect accused of wounding an on-duty Gallipolis Police Officer early on Monday morning is facing charges of attempted aggravated murder and attempted aggravated burglary following the incident that led to the shooting of Patrolman Jamie Bartels.

According to a press release issued on Monday afternoon by Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning, at 12:37 a.m. on Monday morning the Gallia County 911 Center received a call from an individual residing at an apartment complex on McCormick Road just outside the Gallipolis City limits. The caller advised dispatchers that a neighbor had become agitated and had confronted the caller with a gun. Prior to the 911 call, the neighbor had reportedly shot a car belonging to the caller.

Earlier that evening, Gallia County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to an alleged meth-lab related incident in the southern portion of the county.

Due to the proximity of the residence to the City of Gallipolis, dispatchers were requested to contact the Gallipolis Police Department to respond to the scene until deputies could arrive.

Upon their arrival at the suspect’s residence on McCormick Road, the police officers were fired upon by the assailant who was later identified as Cole Creighton Miller, 28, of Gallia County.

Gallipolis Police Officer Jamie Bartels was wounded in the incident and was transported to the Holzer Medical Center Emergency Room and, later, to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.

According to Browning, Bartels received a gunshot wound to the upper torso area.

Miller was taken into custody by additional law enforcement officers who quickly arrived on scene.

Browning reported that the two other Gallipolis Police Officers, a Gallia County Sheriff’s Deputy, as well as a State Highway Patrol Trooper who were on scene at the time of the offender’s arrest commented on Bartels dedication to public service in shielding the community’s citizens from harm.

As of press time, Bartels remained in serious condition at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Initially, Miller was being held on felonious assault charges, however, according to the sheriff’s office, those charges were upgraded by the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday afternoon and now include attempted aggravated murder and attempted aggravated burglary — a charge stemming from Miller’s alleged actions against his neighbor prior to the arrival of the officers.

“Officer Bartels is a fine law enforcement officer and has always been a community-minded person that cares about our community and has always been there when needed. Our thoughts and prayers are for Jamie’s quick and full recovery,” Browning stated. “We will work diligently to ensure proper prosecution of the offender in this case.”

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, Gallipolis City Commission President Jay Cremeens praised Bartels’ work as a Gallipolis Police Officer and spoke of his hope for Bartels’ speedy recovery.

“Jamie is an exemplary police officer and an asset to our police department,” Cremeens stated. “My fellow [city] commissioners were immediately alerted as to this critical incident and are being briefed as new developments arise and continue to be updated on Jamie’s condition. We have directed our city manager to remain at Cabell Huntington Hospital to attend to the needs of the Bartels family who maintain a vigil in the intensive care unit.”

Cremeens also stated that he is also grateful to the officers of the Huntington Police Department and West Virginia State Police who are also maintaining a presence at the medical center with the Bartels family.

“This incident goes to show how dangerous police work really is even in a small rural community like ours,” he said. “You think what you read in the Columbus and Cincinnati newspapers can’t happen here, but actually it does. A domestic violence call is the most dangerous call an officer responds to and our officers respond to those calls daily, sometimes many times a day.

“We are very proud of each of our officers, who all are professional, and having something like this happen affects the entire police department, as well as all city employees who know each other and work together side-by-side every day,” Cremeens commented.

Cremeens also spoke of his dedication to discover what conditions led to the shooting of the Gallipolis Police Officer.

“As president of the commission, I have requested a full summary from the county sheriff as to the incidents that led up to this senseless shooting of our officer, such as deputy staffing, back-up protocol from the sheriff, time frames, sheriff supervision, etc.,” he said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to Jamie and his family, and I ask all residents to remember him in your personal prayers in the days to come. “