LEBANON — The man charged with fatally shooting a central Indiana sheriff's deputy said he had "no remorse" Wednesday as he was led into a courthouse for his initial hearing.
Twenty-one-year-old Anthony Baumgardt made the comment to reporters as he was led by several officers into the Boone County courthouse. He is charged with murder for the death of Deputy Jacob Pickett, who was killed Friday during a foot chase of Baumgardt with his police dog.
When asked by a reporter why he committed the shooting, Baumgardt replied, "I didn't want to get bit by a dog." To a question of whether he was sorry, Baumgardt answered "nope" and a few seconds later said "no remorse."
Baumgardt asked the judge whether the death penalty was being sought against him. When the judge told him prosecutors haven't yet made that decision, he asked, "If I were to seek it out on my own would that change anything? You know, enter my guilty plea now and seek the death penalty?"
The judge entered a preliminary not-guilty plea for Baumgardt and told him that a public defender would be appointed to represent him.
Baumgardt, of Lebanon, is charged with shooting Pickett in the head while the deputy was helping chase Baumgardt and two other men in Lebanon, a city about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis. He also faces charges of resisting law enforcement and illegal handgun, methamphetamine and marijuana possession.
Pickett, 34, had been a Boone County deputy for nearly three years and the married father of two young children.
Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer called Baumgardt's behavior in court "bizarre."
"I can't say that I've ever really experienced anything of that sort under the circumstances that he faces," Meyer said.
Baumgardt wasn't being sought by Lebanon officers when Friday morning's chase began. They were looking to arrest a woman wanted on a warrant and saw another man facing an arrest warrant who fled in a stolen car in which Baumgardt was a passenger, according to court documents. Pickett and his dog were pursuing Baumgardt after he ran away from the car when it briefly stopped.
While Baumgardt was being treated in a hospital after he was wounded when other officers returned fire, he told a detective "I shot a cop ... cause they were going to take me to jail," the probable cause affidavit said.
Baumgardt faced a Marion County arrest warrant for missing a court hearing on a felony theft charge and had a 2016 Boone County felony methamphetamine conviction.
Indiana's governor is directing that Friday, the day of Pickett's funeral, flags be lowered to half-staff in four counties where he lived or worked in law enforcement.