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Posted on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Inmate attempts to grab officer's gun at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital

By Lee Higgins

A Washtenaw County Jail inmate who was being treated at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital early Wednesday assaulted a county corrections officer and attempted to grab his gun, but was restrained after a struggle, authorities said.

Robert Neibler, 27, of Tecumseh, who was awaiting trial on an armed robbery charge, was arraigned Thursday on charges of attempting to disarm a peace officer, attempted escape and assaulting a police officer.


Robert Neibler

Courtesy of the Saline Police Department

Neibler was taken to the hospital Tuesday night in Superior Township to be treated for self-inflicted injuries, Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department spokesman Derrick Jackson said. Jackson was not more specific on that situation.

As an officer was escorting Neibler to a restroom at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Neibler assaulted the officer, Jackson said, and attempted to remove the officer's gun from its holster. Jackson said a struggle ensued and another officer assisted. The two officers restrained Neibler. Everyone involved suffered minor injuries.

At the time, Neibler was being held on $100,000 cash or surety bond as he was awaiting trial on charges, including armed robbery and larceny. Police say he held up a Domino's Pizza in Saline on Monday.

Neibler has prior convictions for breaking and entering and uttering and publishing. He is now being held on a total bond of $125,000 cash or surety, jail officials said, and is scheduled to return to court Jan. 31.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

self-inflicted injuries? oh my, where are all the bleeding hearts about his possible mental illness? Could one be ill if they cause themselves harm in order to garner the opportunity to commit more crimes?


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

You don't have to be a "bleeding heart" to recognize that there are mentally ill people in jail or prison. Whatever this inmate did does not change that fact.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Police one, "poor excuse for a human" zero, but who's keeping score?


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

If he keeps this up he'll find himself in wraps and mask like Hannibal Lecter.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 9:48 a.m.

Is there security camera footage of the incident? There are usually a lot of security cameras around hospitals. The story sounds plausible but with these serious kind of charges I would want more than just the officers version of the events. I used to treat prisoners from the State Prison when I did my residency and the guards were very careful. One day I happened to tell a prisoner, I will see you again next Tuesday and the guard got angry and said that I would have to change the date of his return because he might tell his friends that he was coming back to the clinic Tuesday so they could help break him out. The prisoners were usually in shackles hand and foot. What is the protocol for the Sheriff's Dept. and did the officer follow protocol? Do the protocols need to be revised?


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

A lot depends on where this happened. . . there are probably cameras in public areas like waiting rooms and hallways , but I bet it's a pretty big HIPPA violation to video tape people getting medical care. (I would sue if I had to strip down and get a shot right in front of a security camera!) If the fight with the guards is on tape, it's probably considered evidence and we wouldn't be allowed to see it until all the legal stuff is taken care of.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Jails and prisons don't let inmates know in advance when they will be leaving grounds because of the risk that the prisoner's associates might ambush the vehicle or otherwise help him escape. It's for everyone's safety.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Using a trip to the hospital as a break-out point is not that unusual. There's a lot less security there. It's likely there were witnesses in the hospital.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

Hope they got a few extra shots in when nobody was looking.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

He is also a suspect in 2 Tecumseh robberies. The Tecumseh police don't claim him as living in Tecumseh, they said he is from Caseville and has a friend here. The sketch they have in the paper and also the Toledo news looks just like him. Maybe this is what he wished for.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

I agree that the outcome could have been much worse if not for the quick actions of the officers. Having made more than a few trips to the St. Joe ER with my elderly father I know it can be a busy and hectic place at times. Glad no innocent patients or medical personnel got hurt. Again, good work officers.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Very scary situation with potential for a much worse outcome. GOOD JOB officers! Glad you're safe and hope your injuries heal quickly! I don't quite care what injuries Neibler suffered but he is lucky he didn't get shot.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

So true! I hope this comes up in his sentencing. If he was going for the gun and had actually managed to get it, who knows who he would have killed.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Neibler, made his name for himself some time ago. Officers having a good week? NOT ! Sorry to hear everyone involved suffered minor injuries, and thankful not serious. I see Neibler is digging the hole deeper and deeper. Might need extra precaution measures returning him to court.

roll tide

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

I was being being sarcastic about the previous news articles written this week concerning the sheriff department. I am glad the officer's were not seriously injured.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:51 p.m.

I guess this guy is trying to make a name for himself.

roll tide

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

Look's like the Sheriff's department is having a good week!