INDIANAPOLIS—Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department are investigating an officer-involved shooting on the south side.
Police were called to the 5700 block of Shelby Street to check the welfare of a 30-year-old man who they believe is mentally challenged.
The man's mother called police to say she had lost sight of him in the area of 6000 Manker Street. She said he was distraught and threatened "suicide by cop."
Moments later, an officer found him on Manker Street. The officer got out of his vehicle and approached the man, who began to jog towards the officer.
The officer ordered the man to stop, but when the man continued toward the officer, the officer discharged his weapon, said police.
Earlier Monday, investigators said the man may've had a towel wrapped around an object in his hand. By Monday evening, police said they were still trying to match up that statement with witness accounts, and it remained unclear.
"I just heard a shot, a pop," said neighbor Amy Gunderson, "The next thing I knew, an ambulance and a lot more police officers came."
The man was transported to Eskenazi Hospital in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries.
"I could have these keys as a weapon right now, and I don't think a cop should have to take that chance," said Matthew Napier, who lives nearby.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor Kimble Richardson said suicide by cop isn't common, but it does happen.
"People can be very overwhelmed and feeling angry, depressed, sometimes psychotic and think that this may be a way out for them. Of course, we hope that never happens. It puts both people in peril, in danger," said Richardson, who works for Community Health.
IMPD trains its officers on how to deal with mental health situations, though police said the officer didn't have time to try and calm the man before he charged.
"Nothing trumps officer safety, so when that's a factor officers have to react," said Richardson.
As is standard procedure, the officer has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
IMPD issued this statement about recent police training:
"IMPD officers recently received Level II Mental Crisis Training to help equip them to identify and deescalate situations involving mental/emotional subjects. In this event, which is extremely difficult for officers, the officer did not have an opportunity to counsel or speak with the male before he began charging at him in an aggressive and threatening manner. In a situation where the life of civilians or officers are in jeopardy, officers only have split seconds to take action in an effort to preserve life, including their own."
Anyone who has additional information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS.
The man was taken to Eskenazi Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His identity has not been released.