IMPD chief says officer-involved shooting investigation will be ‘true test’ for department

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Metropolitan police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting.

It happened just before 2 a.m. near 23rd Street and Aqueduct Street on the near northwest side of the city.

According to police, this started with a traffic stop that led to a short chase. Once the chase was over, two officers discharged their weapons. A 45-year-old man was critically injured and taken to Eskenazi Hospital, where he later died. He has been identified as Aaron Bailey.

Aaron Bailey (Photo courtesy of his daughter)

Autopsy results have not been released.

IMPD said Shiwanda Ward, 26, was in the vehicle but unhurt. Police took her into custody on a narcotics-related charge.

“The information we can release at this time is very limited,” said Sgt. Kendale Adams with IMPD. “We are not able to speak to the officers. However, we will speak obviously to those individuals that were directly involved to see if there is any additional information we may glean from that.”

Adams said IMPD didn't locate a weapon after obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle. Adams said it didn't appear that shots were fired at officers.

"Just because you don't find a weapon does not mean that it can't be reasonable [to use force]," Adams said. "Obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into that when officers have to make that decision."

Shiwanda Ward

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said the investigation has two parts, investigative and administrative. He said the investigation would take time and would be a "true test" of his department.

He expects the officers involved will at some point appear in front of a grand jury. After that occurs, officers can give their statements to IMPD. Until that happens, Roach said he won't know exactly what happened.

He also urged other potential suspects in any case to not run from officers, saying nothing good has ever come of it. He said if a suspect doesn't run, there's an opportunity for them to help.

“This is a tragedy and as a department our heart goes out to everyone involved,” he said.

Neighbors in the area recalled hearing a “pop-pop-pop” noise and originally thought someone was setting off fireworks.

“I was in the house in my back room. I am a night owl. And I was working out with some weights and watching some news channels,” said neighbor John Sampson. “I heard the popping sound. My first thought was [that] it was fireworks, but then they were, it sounded like they were almost like at the same time.”

After that, Sampson said he heard sirens and saw flashing lights. He described the neighborhood as quiet and couldn’t recall a similar incident happening there in the past.

IMPD said there would be both an internal and external investigation into the shooting. Both officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in police action shootings.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issued this statement:

“The loss of any life in our city is a tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers are with all individuals and families affected by last night’s incident. Our residents expect that IMPD will stringently follow protocol by fully investigating and reviewing the actions that were taken. We will continue to engage local faith and community leaders to reiterate a commitment to handling this process with openness, transparency, and compassion.”