Suspect arrested in motorcycle club attack; faces preliminary arson, criminal mischief charges

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(photo gallery) --- EVANSVILLE, Ind. — An Evansville man accused of driving his pickup truck into a North Side motorcycle club earlier this week and trying to set fire to it has been arrested.

Cale E. Winternheimer, 47, was booked into the Vanderburgh County Jail on Thursday afternoon. He faces preliminary charges of arson, criminal mischief and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon.

A probable cause affidavit filed after his arrest reveals more details about the attack reported Wednesday night at the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club on Diamond Avenue.

More: Motorcycle club fought off shooter with pool cues, police say

Cale E. Winternheimer

Cale E. Winternheimer (Photo: Supplied/Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office)

Winternheimer reportedly tried to get into the club Wednesday night but was denied access. Evansville Police say surveillance footage shows Winternheimer carrying a 5-gallon gas can to the front door of the club before he tries to get in.

After he was turned away, Winternheimer reportedly set something on fire and then rammed his pickup into the front of the club while holding the item that was ignited. The video reportedly shows him dropping the item on fire next to the gas can, then running away.

Two club members came out of the building and fired three shots total at him seconds after the truck crashed into the building, according to Evansville Police. Winternheimer was not hit by the gunfire.

He undressed and ran into the road on Diamond Avenue, police say. Eventually, Winternheimer got dressed again and started walking back to the club, where members held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

Evansville Police say he was punched, kicked and hit with at least one pool cue before officers got to the club. He suffered head and face injuries.

Winternheimer was taken to a local hospital to treat his injuries, which police said were not life-threatening. He chose not to talk to investigators except to say a car stopped on Diamond Avenue to pick up his gun after he threw it in the road.

While the initial police report stated Winternheimer opened fire inside the club, the affidavit only states club members fired their guns at him after he reportedly rammed the building with his pickup. No one was shot in the gunfire.

Evansville Police say while witnesses told them Winternheimer had a gun and Winterheimer allegedly told them he threw it in the road, investigators did not find it and did not see him carrying a gun in surveillance video. 

The building sustained heavy damage. 

Winternheimer is scheduled to appear in court for a probable cause hearing Friday afternoon. He has not been formally charged in the case.

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