Skip to main content
Press Release

Violent, Wanted Felon Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison After Firing Shot Into Ceiling of Hotel Room in During Standoff with SWAT Team

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS- Michael Dennis, 38, of Kokomo, Indiana, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to illegally possessing a firearm.

According to court documents, on April 20, 2021, investigators with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office attempted to arrest Dennis on several outstanding warrants while he was staying at a Baymont Hotel in Kokomo. Dennis refused to let officers into the room and informed them that he had a gun.

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team responded to the scene and made several attempts to get Dennis to exit the room. Officers eventually emitted pepper spray under the door. Dennis told officers “if you spray that s**t one more time, I am going to shoot,” at which point, he fired a shot into the ceiling of the hotel room.

After several hours of negotiations, Dennis exited the room and was safely taken into custody. Officers located a 9mm pistol inside the room.

Dennis is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law due to his multiple previous felony convictions including Criminal Recklessness, Strangulation, and Battery on a Child.

The sentence was announced by Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Columbus Field Division and Jerry Asher, Howard County Sheriff.

“Every day, law enforcement officers do their duty to protect their public, knowing they may encounter a violent offender with a gun,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “We have seen far too many tragedies in Indiana, and across the country when, law enforcement officers encounter criminals with a history of domestic violence and a gun in their hands. It is a testament to the skill, professionalism, and training of the responding Howard County Deputies that this defendant was arrested without injury to the public, law enforcement officers, or himself. The sentence imposed today demonstrates the commitment of our office, the ATF, and our law enforcement partners to protect the public from these dangerous offenders.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated this case with valuable assistance provided by the Howard County Sheriff’s Office. The sentence was imposed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge, Tanya Walton Pratt. Judge Pratt also ordered that Dennis be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 3 years following his release from federal prison and be subject to a $1,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Barry D. Glickman, who prosecuted this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

This case was brought as part of the LEATH Initiative (Law Enforcement Action to Halt Domestic Violence), named in honor of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Officer Breann Leath, who was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call.  A partnership among the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the IMPD, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, the LEATH Initiative focuses federal, state, and local law enforcement resources on domestic violence offenders who illegally possess firearms.

Updated February 23, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods