A Royal Center man has been sentenced in Pulaski Circuit Court for his attempt to injure a Pulaski County police officer by throwing anhydrous ammonia at him.
Paul Burke was sentenced to 10 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to a charge of Attempted Aggravated Battery. Burke will serve six of those years on good time credit and serve four years on probation. He must also submit to alcohol and drug testing and complete substance abuse treatment. Additional charges of Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer as a Class C felony, Theft as a Class D felony, and two Class A misdemeanor charges of Resisting Law Enforcement and Illegal Storage and Transportation of Anhydrous Ammonia were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
Burke was arrested in June after a Pulaski County officer pulled over a vehicle in which he was a passenger for following too closely. The officer saw Burke open his car door, bend over in his seat, sit back up and close the door. The officer then noticed a white cup with a blue lid on the ground outside the car and, when questioned, Burke stated he didn’t know anything about the cup.
Burke was detained and the officer picked up the cup and placed it on the trunk lid. A white liquid inside the cup then began to boil and expel a large amount of smoke. Burke attempted to reached for the cup and the officer grabbed him, but Burke was able to grab the cup and throw the substance at the officer. The liquid missed the officer and hit the ground, but continued to boil and smoke. A trooper with the Indiana State Police tested the liquid in the cup and it was identified as anhydrous ammonia, which is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and is extremely hazardous.
Burke and the driver, Dana Candlish of Kokomo, were both arrested in the incident.