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Man pulled from St. Mary’s Lake, arrested after lengthy police chase

| Friday, January 16, 2015

On Dec. 22, Notre Dame students and staff received an email from the University reporting an incident that had occurred earlier that day on campus. The email reported that a suspect being pursued by Mishawaka police had been pulled out of St. Mary’s Lake and taken into custody by police.

“Just before noon on Dec. 22, NDSP received a call of a suspicious vehicle in the [Hesburgh] Library [parking] lot, and upon investigation, officers learned that the vehicle was one that Mishawaka police had been pursuing,” Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) director Phillip Johnson said. “As officers from other agencies arrived on campus, NDSP dispatch center received a call reporting an attempt to steal a delivery truck near the Main Building. Officers arrived on the scene within one minute of the call reporting the attempted robbery.”

According to a news release issued by the Mishawaka Police Department (MPD), the suspect was 23-year-old Joshua Ringle.

Upon the arrival of NDSP officers at the library, Ringle fled, Johnson said.

“The suspect ran to the lake and jumped into the water. The man claimed to be armed but no weapon was seen, and no weapon was found,” Johnson said. “This situation was contained within two and half minutes after receiving the call reporting the attempted robbery.

“The suspect was rescued from the frigid water after about 30 minutes. Officers from NDSP, [St. Joseph] County Police and [the South Bend Police Department], using a [Notre Dame Fire Department] rescue boat, pulled the suspect to safety.”

According to the MPD news release, Mishawaka police had tried to apprehend Ringle after he had violated a protective order several hours earlier, but Ringle fled.

“Ringle, while fleeing police, entered a home on Lowell Wood, confronted the homeowner and took her gray Subaru Forrester. Ringle drove through the lowered garage door, refusing to stop for officers,” the news release said.

Ringle then drove off with the Mishawaka Police in pursuit, the news release said. The officers lost sight of Ringle due to heavy holiday traffic, the news release said.

“Officers were informed by dispatch that witnesses called, stating the gray SUV had been involved in a rollover crash at [the intersection of] Grape Rd. and Douglas. The gray SUV rolled over, ending upright on its wheels and left west on Douglas,” the news release said.

Shortly after, officers were told a gray SUV and man matching Ringle’s description were in the library parking lot at Notre Dame, the news release said.

“NDSP officers, along with Mishawaka, South Bend, and [St. Joseph] County Police worked in a coordinated effort to contain the suspect and establish a safe zone around the area of the St. Mary’s Lake,” Johnson said. “NDFD’s staff was alerted to be on standby for any emergency medical services and to provide a rescue boat for police.”

After refusing officers’ orders to come out of the water, Ringle was safely pulled from the water by police and treated by fire department medics, Johnson said. Ringle was then taken to a local hospital to be treated for hypothermia, the news release said.

Johnson said NDSP works with other local law enforcement entities in a unified command structure.

“There was an incredibly rapid response by officers from all area agencies, and officers performed in an exceptional manner, working patiently and safely to resolve this situation without injury,” Johnson said. “I am extremely proud of the coordinated police and fire response to this incident.”

The safety of all staff and students is the priority of NDSP in situations such as these, Johnson said.

“The situation was very quickly contained and a perimeter was established around the scene to keep people at a safe distance,” Johnson said. “Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, we used the campus public address system (IPPA) to ask people to stay away from the area of the lakes.

“When the suspect was rescued from the water, an all-clear message was broadcast.

“Based on feedback — and we evaluate our response to all major incidents as part of continuous improvement — the ND Alert system using text, telephone calls, email messages as well as the public address system would have been more effective than the public address system alone.”


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About Kayla Mullen

Kayla is a senior political science major and the Managing Editor of The Observer. She hails from Philadelphia, PA and was previously a resident of Howard Hall.

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