Court docs: Shoplifting suspect threatened officer’s life before shooting him

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Court records released Friday detail the fight between a suspect and an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer that led to an arrest of a suspected shoplifter.

William Allen, 40, faces several charges, including one count of attempted murder. Police believe he stole merchandise from an east side Lowe's Home Improvement Store and was found by IMPD Officer Eric Rosenbaum in a nearby neighborhood around the intersection of 25th Street and Galaxy Lane.

In a probable cause affidavit, police describe a violent set of actions that followed Rosenbaum spotting Allen and his pursuit to apprehend him.

"I hope that if nothing else, when the public reads the facts that are outlined, they will get a full appreciation for what our officers do every single day," said Rick Snyder, the president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 86.

Rosenbaum had stopped Allen, and was trying to handcuff him, according to court documents. A witness said Allen resisted and Rosenbaum Tased the suspect. Allen broke the electric charge loose and started fighting the officer, and eventually ran off.

Rosenbaum chased Allen down to a yard along Galaxy Lane. The officer tried to "hip toss" Allen to the ground, but Rosenbaum dislocated his right shoulder in the process, leading to a scary exchange for the officer.

With the advantage, Allen sat on Rosenbaum's torso and began gouging the officer's eyes.

"Officer Rosenbaum could feel the left thumbnail enter the inside part of his eye closest to the nose and gouge across to the outside of his eye," the court documents showed.

With his right arm dislocated, the officer only had his left arm to defend himself, and his eye sight had diminished from the attack.

Allen went on to remove the communications equipment from the officer, pulling the microphone away from his chest and removing the earpiece to prevent Rosenbaum from hearing radio communications. He went on to punch the officer and allegedly told Rosenbaum, "You're gonna die tonight."

Allen then got a hold of Rosenbaum's gun and shot the officer in the leg, but the court documents said Allen was looking to pull the trigger again.

"Allen was getting a grip on the gun while simultaneously raising it up to Officer Rosenbaum’s head," according to court records. "Officer Rosenbaum, knowing he had on his ballistic vest with a rifle plate tried to pull the gun away from his head and into his chest to absorb the shot if it came."

The trigger was never pulled, Rosenbaum regained use of his right arm, took control of his weapon and tried to fire it at Allen, but the gun malfunctioned.

Allen ran away, but officers surrounded the area and attended to Rosenbaum. The suspect was caught a short time later in the area.

"This was a horrendous act of violence and aggression that many people probably wouldn’t be able to fight off," Snyder said.

Since Sunday, the FOP has put a support team to help Rosenbaum with his recovery. It includes supporting the officer's family and any officer who responded to provide medical treatment to Rosenbaum's wound.

"I wanted to make clear to Officer Rosenbaum, on behalf of every fellow sister and brother officers is how proud we are of him," said Synder. "The actions he was forced to take, but also his professionalism and diligence in defending and saving his own life. He is a testament to our profession and the training our officers receive."

"They ought to be thankful that they’ve got people like this young officer willing to put that badge on," Spencer Moore, a retired IMPD officer said about the community.

He and his family know the sacrifice officers make first hand. Both he and his wife are retired officers and his son, IMPD Officer David Moore, was shot and killed after a traffic stop in 2011.

"Law enforcement is dangerous and I think it's more dangerous today than it was in the past. I think there's a typical viewpoint of the public and a lack of respect of life and a lack of respect of authority," Moore said. "I like to tell people one of the last conversations that I ever had with my son that he told me in very simple words Dad I just want a beat where I can go and serve the people on it and help them get through life the way they want to be."

But despite any dangers, the thin blue line's work carries on.

"Remember to pray for your officers, they really are sacrificing a lot for the community, so much so they take an oath and say they would lay down their life for anybody in this community if that time came," Autumn, with Indiana Police Wives Ministry, said.

Allen has already made his initial appearance in court. He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in June.

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