Wounded Indy cop first to testify

Post-Tribune Article

VALPARAISO — The Indianapolis police officer who was shot in the head and chest in July 2008 was the first witness in Tuesday’s attempted murder trial.

Jason Fishburn walked slowly to the front of Superior Court 5, his leg held with a support brace.

His few words came with difficulty during the trial, which was moved to Porter County because of publicity in Indianapolis.

Fishburn couldn’t recall the day that Brian Reese, 37, shot him during a foot chase.

Although Fishburn has taken a desk job, “anything he does takes a lot of effort,” Fishburn’s wife, Tonya, said. That includes reading and writing.

He’s not expected to regain any more memory, and any other improvements would be small.

Reese did shoot the officer, Defense Attorney David Shircliff said in his opening statement just before Fishburn took the stand. “We’re not denying that he caused Jason Fishburn great injuries. But we believe that when we’re done, you will not find Brian Reese guilty of attempted murder,” Shircliff said.

Reese was focused on escape and is guilty of resisting law enforcement for escaping from police and avoiding them during a chase that began at a girlfriend’s home.

Police planned to talk with the girlfriend when Reese walked out of the door, then closed it and jumped out a window.

From the time that Reese left the house to when his mother went to pick him up shortly before the foot chase began, Reese had opportunities to shoot other officers and bystanders if he was intent on killing, Shircliff said.

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said in his opening statement Reese eluded police because he was a fast runner.

“This time, Officer Jason Fishburn is in a position to stop him,” Brizzi said.

Before the trial began, two issues were settled.

Two jurors who’d seen Reese brought to the courthouse in handcuffs were allowed to remain jurors because they felt it wouldn’t prejudice them.

Fishburn and his wife were also allowed to sit in on the trial after they testified as long as they made no disruptions.

“It’s a public courtroom, and if he’s not under subpoena, he’s allowed to stay,” Superior Court Judge Lisa Borges said.