INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has released edited bodycam footage pertaining to a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred on the city’s northwest side in August.
According to a graphic included in the video, the incident started when officers responded to the 4500 block of Woodland Drive at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 27. Police were dispatched to the area after a woman pressed her personal emergency alert button and indicated a man was trying to kill her.
When officers arrived at the scene, they located a man — identified as 40-year-old Kendall Darnell Gilbert — standing in front of the residence in question. IMPD’s video indicated Gilbert drew a machete from a sheath and threatened to “make war” as officers approached him.
Police initially distanced themselves from Gilbert to de-escalate the situation. Gilbert threatened officers from a distance as they tried to speak with him, according to IMPD video graphics.
The incident continued to develop hours after police initially tried to speak with Gilbert. Officers talked with Gilbert for more than two hours, according to IMPD. Eventually, IMPD’s special weapons and tactics team responded to the scene alongside a crisis negotiation unit.
Crisis negotiators made contact with Gilbert when they arrived at the scene. The team, however, failed to generate “meaningful conversation” with Gilbert, according to IMPD.
As the situation continued to develop, IMPD SWAT officials identified a “predetermined location where they would take action for the safety of the community and officers if Mr. Gilbert crossed that point,” per video graphics released by police.
At 9:10 p.m., Gilbert crossed the established point, according to IMPD. Officers initially used less lethal gadgets like tasers, bean bag guns and distraction devices to attempt to stop Gilbert. Bodycam footage shows Gilbert ran toward officers with the machete in his hand. He then made contact with an officer holding a ballistic shield.
Gilbert was then shot by Lt. John Perkins, a SWAT team member, according to IMPD. After he was shot, Gilbert was transported to Eskenazi Hospital to receive treatment for his injuries. He later died at the hospital, according to IMPD.
Gilbert’s death concluded a three-day stretch of calls IMPD responded to pertaining to Gilbert. IMPD video indicates officers responded to Woodland Drive five times in reference to Gilbert.
During their runs to Gilbert’s residence, officers were told he was going through a mental health crisis, according to IMPD. Family members also reported that Gilbert was making threatening comments and damaging property inside the residence in the days leading up to his death.
Over the course of the first few incidents they responded to, officers could not make contact with Gilbert. IMPD said Gilbert remained alone in his room, behind a closed door and uncommunicative when officers tried to make contact with him during their first couple runs to his home.
Before their final run to the house, officers had provided Gilbert’s family with mental health provider resources, per IMPD. Police also told Gilbert’s family that they would have IMPD’s Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) follow up with them.
IMPD’s MCAT program, which is designed to pair an officer with a mental health professional, operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MCAT was off by the time officers would have called the unit Gilbert’s residence. MCAT officials were not scheduled to work again until the following Monday, per IMPD.
No officers were injured during any of their trips to Gilbert’s home, according to IMPD. An investigation of the incident is ongoing.
A separate and independent investigation will be conducted by IMPD’s internal affairs unit to ensure compliance with department policy. The incident will be examined by IMPD’s civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board.
According to IMPD, Indiana law allows officers to detain and transport a person going through a mental health crisis if the person is determined to be mentally ill, an immediate danger to themselves or others and is in need of immediate hospitalization and treatment.
Rev. Davide Greene, Sr. with the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis said this case shines a light on the dire need for more mental health resources.
“There’s no doubt we have to have mental health resources available 24/7,” he said. “Mental health breakdowns don’t occur Monday through Friday 8 through 5 only.”
Others say police and city leaders are taking steps to do so, but say this case unfortunately turned tragic.
“There was a lot of negotiation that took place trying to talk the gentleman down and it went very long into the evening and it just turned out very badly,” said Rev. James Jackson with Fervent Prayer Church. “It just had a terrible, terrible ending to it.”
Both faith leaders FOX59/CBS4 spoke with said there is still work to be done when it comes to addressing mental health issues.