INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis police fatally shot a “troubled” 15-year-old boy who evaded officers at a traffic stop and accelerated toward them in a car that matched the description of one that had been reported carjacked, the city’s assistant police chief said Monday.
Three officers opened fire Sunday night on the carjacking suspect, identified by the local coroner’s office as Andre Green, because they felt threatened as he accelerated the car toward them, said Assistant Police Chief Lloyd Crowe.
“We feel that they were in danger,” he said, adding that the driver was using the car as “his weapon of choice at that moment.”
Crowe said that after the shooting, the driver exited the car and collapsed. A handgun was found near him, he said. Asked whether the carjacking suspect had aimed the gun at the officers, Crowe said investigators did not know because they were still interviewing the three officers.
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“There are questions that we just simply cannot answer at this point,” Crowe said during a news conference on Monday afternoon about 16 hours after the shooting.
The three officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, and the internal affairs unit will investigate the shooting.
Green pleaded guilty in May to juvenile charges of auto theft and criminal mischief, court records show. According to Marion County juvenile court records, Green was found in July to have violated the terms of his probation stemming from that case.
Crowe, who did not refer to Green by name, acknowledged the driver was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet from a previous brush with law enforcement and the court system but declined to go into details.
Crowe said police had reviewed some of the boy’s social media posts. He described him as “a young man who had some care he wasn’t getting.”
“There were demonstrations from his social media to things he had done in the neighborhood that led us to believe this young man was troubled,” Crowe said.
In recounting the events leading up to the fatal confrontation, Maj. Eric Hench said that after the car was carjacked earlier Sunday evening, someone in the car had fired four gunshots, but had not hit anyone.
Police said that when officers tried to pull over the car late Sunday, the driver approached a cul-de-sac and tried to make a U-turn, striking the side of the police car. Two passengers ran from the car, Crowe said, but the driver refused to get out.
Crowe said police were still looking Monday for the two passengers who had fled on foot from the car.
No video of the shooting has surfaced, Crow said. None of the three officers were wearing body cameras and none of the police vehicles at the shooting scene were equipped with dashboard cameras. He said that most of the department’s police vehicles do not have dash cameras.
Green’s sister, Tericka Jackson, told WISH-TV that her brother was “a good person” and that he was attending a local high school.
“He would just be there to brighten up your day,” she said.
Another relative urged the others who were in the car to provide information about the shooting.
“We don’t know who else was in the car with him, but we’re asking you, could you please come forward?” Malonda Lamb, who said she is Green’s cousin, told WISH-TV. “Because you saw. You saw something. You saw them shoot him, you saw them chase, you saw something.”