JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - The man accused of shooting a co-worker inside a tire and auto repair shop in Jeffersonville faces a murder charge.
Bobby Powell, an employee of Big O Tires, was taken into police custody shortly after the shooting Wednesday morning. The victim, identified in court documents as James Winters Jr., also worked at Big O Tires.
Court documents show Powell admitted to the shooting and surveillance video inside the Big O Tires allegedly backs up that claim.
But Powell told police he shot Winters in self-defense. Whether that claim is justified will be up to a jury.
Wednesday's shooting inside the Big O Tires shocked the Jeffersonville community.
“There was a verbal altercation between the two and that apparently stemmed from earlier in the day,” Lt. Isaac Parker, with Jeffersonville Police, said.
Court documents say Powell told police that he and Winters had been arguing earlier in the day, with Winters telling Bobby he wanted to fight.
“We were aware that there might have been an ongoing issue between the two," Parker said. "But I don’t believe there’d been any violence prior between the two.”
Powell said when Winters came at him later on Wednesday morning, he fired a single shot, hitting Winters in the chest.
Winters was rushed to University Hospital, where he later died.
Family members say Powell told them he was protecting himself from Winters. That’s an argument Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull looked at closely.
“I had to take a serious look at whether I believe self-defense justified the killing or not,” Mull said. “And it just was my belief that this did not fall within the exception that Indiana statute provides for this circumstance."
Indiana law is very specific about when deadly force is considered justified. In this case, Mull said the victim was unarmed and at his place of business. Also weighing in, police said Powell made a post on a social media account before the shooting, saying “Coworker said he gon beat my a**? Lets just say he don’t work here nomore.”
Mull said he is investigating that and other alleged social media posts made by Powell in connection to this case.
“That appears to have been posted before the shooting by the defendant, and that is something that I took a serious look at before making a decision in this case,” Mull said.
Still, cases of workplace violence are rare for Clark County, fatal cases even more so.
“It’s very, very rare to have a co-worker kill another co-worker in an incident of workplace violence here,” Mull said.
Powell is currently being held without bond in the Clark County Jail.
He’s charged with murder, aggravated battery, carrying a gun without a license within 500 feet of a school and possession of marijuana.
Powell is expected to be in court on these charges Monday. If convicted, he could face up to 65 years in prison.