INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An investigation is underway into why two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers shot and killed a suspect early Thursday morning.
It happened at the corner of West 23rd and Aqueduct streets, just northwest of downtown.
The Marion County coroner identified the man as 45-year old Aaron Bailey.
Police are trying to determine what led the officers to fire the fatal shots. During a news conference Thursday afternoon, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said there are several unanswered questions.
“I don’t know what they saw, what they heard, because we don’t have those statements that are so crucial,” Roach said.
The police chief said until a criminal investigation is completed, investigators may not hear from the officers. He said a two-part investigation is underway.
The administrative portion of the investigation looks at policies and whether or not the officers’ actions were justified. The investigative portion, Roach said, is like any other investigation where a person is shot. It’s handled by homicide detectives and Marion County prosecutors. Roach said the officers may have to go before a grand jury.
People on the streets are voicing their opinions.
“If he would have stopped, then he wouldn’t have been shot,” said Robert Polk.
Deep tire tracks are obvious in the mud. Glass is shattered on the pavement. The damage marks the spot where it all ended for Bailey. It’s also where Polk’s business, Merss, which services and rebuilds medical and scientific equipment, is located.
Polk watched the fallout unfold on the morning news.
“Hopefully nobody got hurt or killed. But moments later it was said that the guy was shot,” he said.
According to police, it started near East Riverside Drive and Burdsal Parkway, which is less than a half-mile from the shooting scene, when officers pulled over Bailey for a traffic violation. After about nine minutes, they say he took off, leading them on a short chase before crashing into Polk’s fence.
“You want to go home right? I want to go home. So, the first thing that came to mind is, if you have nothing to hide, then why run,” Polk questioned.
Within minutes of the crash, police say both officers fired shots at Bailey. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police couldn’t say how many shots were fired, but on the rear driver’s side of the car, there were three bullet holes and a shattered window.
Police did not find a gun in the car.
During a news conference, Roach said the department has policies and training for when officers can use deadly force.
“It’s what a reasonable man would believe when his life or the life is someone else is threatened. We have to assume that was the mindset of those officers when they pulled the trigger,” Roach said.
After the shooting, police arrested 26-year old Shiwanda Ward on a charge of possession of paraphernalia. She is the only witness and was not injured. The officers were also unharmed.
Polk said, “They’re human just like us. They want to protect the self and also us. Someone didn’t have anything to hide, why run?”
Both officers joined IMPD in 2014, and were put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.