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Suspect in crash that killed K9 has long criminal history

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – The man who allegedly led police on a multi-county chase — ending in a crash that killed a sheriff’s department K9 — has a lengthy criminal record.

Indiana State Police on Thursday said Clarence Shearer, 31, of Fort Wayne, was responsible for the wreck that set a Whitley County Sheriff’s Department unit on fire, trapping “Cas,” a police dog, inside.

Cas’ handler was outside of the vehicle when the car plowed into it. He was not able to get his partner free from the burning wreckage.

Shearer was moved on Thursday afternoon from a Columbia City hospital to the Allen County Jail, where he is being held on several warrants.

It’s not the first time he’s been taken to that jail. Records show Shearer has a long list of arrests and convictions, including, among other counts:

  • A pending charge of domestic battery
  • Another domestic battery and strangulation case from February that was dismissed
  • Conviction in 2016 for failure to register as a sex offender
  • Convictions in 2011 on multiple counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and of criminal recklessness for shooting into a home
  • Conviction in 2009 for failure to return to a place of detention
  • Conviction in 2009 for theft and for receiving stolen property
  • Conviction in 2008 for criminal confinement

Shearer also appears in a current registry of sex offenders.

The incident that ended in the Whitley County crash on Wednesday began when the Plymouth, Ind., Police Department put out a dispatch regarding an armed carjacking.

A state trooper identified the suspect vehicle a short time later, and a “high-risk” stop was attempted in Kosciusko County.

At that time, a passenger exited the car, but the driver then sped off.

The pursuit continued on U.S. 30 with multiple agencies joining in the effort to apprehend the driver.

A Whitley County deputy positioned his car, a 2019 Dodge Charger, in the intersection of U.S. 30 and CR 450 West and set up stop sticks in an effort to end the chase.

That’s when, police say, Shearer — attempting to evade the stop sticks — collided broadside with the deputy’s unit, which caught fire.

The deputy was unharmed. Shearer was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Community honors K9 officer killed in fiery crash
Whitley County K9 officer dies after chase ends in fiery crash

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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