Auburn man dies after shooting himself during traffic stop

By buseman · Jul 29, 2010 ·
  1. buseman
    FORT WAYNE — An Auburn man died from a gunshot wound Tuesday at 6:32 p.m., after shooting himself early Tuesday morning when he was stopped by an Indiana State Police Trooper, state police said.

    Trenton James Stuller, 24, died at Parkview Hospital, where he survived for some 16 hours after he arrived in critical condition, police said.

    After the incident, police searched Stuller’s car and discovered an alleged methamphetamine lab under the front seat, a news release said.

    State police detective Mark Heffelfinger said that at approximately 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, Trooper Caleb Anderson made a traffic stop of Stuller’s car at Maplecrest and Stellhorn roads in northeast Fort Wayne for an equipment violation. Stuller pulled his 1995 Dodge Intrepid into the parking lot of a Walgreen’s store at the northwest corner of that intersection.

    While talking with Stuller, Anderson noticed that Stuller had handed him an identification card for someone other than Stuller, police said. When the trooper asked Stuller to step out of the vehicle, Stuller leaned over, grabbed a handgun from under his right leg and shot himself in the head. Anderson immediately called for assistance from police and medical personnel.

    Heffelfinger said Stuller used a .32 caliber semi-automatic handgun, which he did not have a permit to carry.

    The trooper was not injured in the incident. Indiana State Police were assisted by Fort Wayne police and fire departments.

    Heffelfinger said the methamphetamine lab inside Stuller’s car was contained in a one-liter plastic bottle, used in the “one-pot” method of manufacturing the illegal drug.

    Court records show that Steuben County had issued a warrant for Stuller’s arrest for allegedly failing to appear in court on charges of possession of methamphetamine.

    Stuller’s warrant was listed on the web site The site described Stuller as 6 feet tall, weighing 160 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. DeKalb County court records list his address as Helen Avenue on the southwest side of Auburn.

    On Jan. 8, the Waterloo Marshal’s Department arrested Stuller on charges of dealing in methamphetamine, a Class A felony; possession of methamphetamine, a Class A felony; possession of chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, a Class C felony; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.

    Waterloo officers said they found Stuller while investigating a strong chemical odor from an apartment in the 1100 block of South Wayne Street, where they found two “one-pot” reactors “cooking” meth.

    They also reported finding precursors for making meth, paraphernalia and finished meth in plain view. Police said no one was living in the apartment, which appeared to be used only to make meth.

    However, DeKalb County authorities dismissed the Waterloo charges against Stuller on March 3, according to court records. A file entry said the dismissal was due to prosecutorial discretion and additional investigation. The charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means they could have been filed again later.

    Tuesday, 27 July 2010

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