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Man killed in botched robbery attempt
Another intruder was wounded in the home invasion, and 2 more are at large, police say.


Somehow, the four men had heard the residents of a Near-Eastside house had a lot of money.

They were wrong -- there was no money. But there was a loaded shotgun and a resident who was willing to use it on the robbers.

"There really wasn't very much brilliance here," Michael A. Mitchell, an Indianapolis Police Department homicide detective, said of the four suspects.

The attempted robbery Tuesday night ended with one robber dead and a second man wounded. The other two intruders disappeared.

Police said the shooting was a clear case of self-defense, and they will not refer the case to the Marion County prosecutor's office to consider charges against the shooter. However, the wounded man could be charged with the dead man's death, and the two men who ran could face similar charges.

The incident, in the 300 block of South Villa Avenue, was reported at 9:38 p.m. Tuesday. Killed was Gary Emler, 28, of the 300 block of North Holmes Avenue. Wounded and arrested was Andy Whobrey, 18, who lived at the same address as Emler.

Emler had been wanted on an arrest warrant in Hamilton County for violating his probation after a disorderly-conduct conviction. Whobrey faces preliminary charges of robbery and felony murder. The preliminary murder charge is based on the allegation that Whobrey took part in a crime in which a person was killed.

Mitchell declined to identify the man who fired the fatal shots, saying he was concerned about reprisals from the two suspects who escaped. But the detective did say the shooter was not the homeowner.

Detectives aren't sure how the four men got the idea that there was money in the house or why they decided to break in.

Police gave this version of events:

The homeowner and the man who fired the shots were asleep in separate bedrooms. Next to the shooter's bed was a 12-gauge shotgun, loaded with deer slugs, that the man had used during a recent hunting trip to Kentucky.

The four robbery suspects reportedly drove to the house and kicked open the back door.

"There was nothing subtle about the entry. They took the door right off the frame," Mitchell said.

Armed with a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun, Emler apparently led the four men into the house. As he went down a hall, he was confronted by a man armed with the loaded shotgun.

Emler pointed his handgun at the man with the shotgun; the other man fired, putting a deer slug through Emler's chest from 10 feet away, Mitchell said. Emler was knocked to the floor, then tried to crawl to the handgun he had dropped. At that point, he took a second deer slug through the back.

One of those shots reportedly grazed Whobrey. He and the other two intruders ran from the house, with Whobrey surfacing a couple of hours later in the Methodist Hospital emergency room, police say.

Contact Kevin O'Neal at (317) 327-7928 or via e-mail at

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