INDIANAPOLIS — A fatal police shooting on Keystone on Tuesday continued a disturbing and deadly trend.
In the last two months, IMPD has now been involved in five fatal officer-involved shootings.
The police and community leaders do agree on one thing: there’s no one cause for the recent spike in police shootings.
Each case is different and some of the incidents are more problematic than others.
In early August, Gary Harrell was shot in the back near 34th and Parker by an IMPD officer as Harrell tried to run away from a traffic stop.
While police said Harrell did have a gun in his hand, some still doubt that justified the shooting.
“From a community perspective, we don’t feel like he necessarily should be dead,” said Reverend David Greene with the Concerned Clergy.
In late August, our cameras were rolling when Kendall Gilbert was shot to death running at police armed with a machete following a lengthy standoff with police.
“That shouldn’t have happened,” said Greene.
While those deaths troubled Reverend David Greene with the Concerned Clergy, he understands why police killed Ricktez Williams downtown last week. Police claim Williams fired shots at police with a stolen handgun following an armed robbery.
Also this month, Eric Taylor was killed following a domestic disturbance on Portage Terrace. Police claim Taylor had threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and was armed with a handgun when he was shot.
“We can’t go down this slippery slope of seeing police action shootings at this volume, because that will ultimately lead to questions in the community and more distrust between community and policing,” said Greene.
For their part, after killing Darmon Graves Jr. along Keystone on Tuesday, IMPD said officers are being confronted with more criminals carrying firearms than ever before.
“Lots of people have guns. Lots of people are doing bad things, violent things, and our officers put themselves in harm’s way to take them off the streets so they don’t harm anyone else,” said IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey.
IMPD also provided this written statement:
First, we recognize the trauma and anxiety these incidents cause to those directly involved, the families, the community and our officers. No officer leaves their house wanting to take another person’s life.
Drawing conclusions that any one reason may be driving the number of incidents would not be appropriate. Each incident has its own facts and circumstances. The IMPD remains committed to fairness and transparency in all of our law enforcement interactions.
The incidents from the past two months are being investigated by the Critical Incident Response Team and will be reviewed by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
A separate, independent, investigation is being conducted by IMPD Internal Affairs.
The civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board will review every incident at the conclusion of the criminal process.
“We assume everybody’s got a gun because of permitless carry. The question is did the person point the gun at the police officer or fire at a police officer? That’s what the community is going to want to know,” said Greene.
Greene wonders if the state’s open carry law may be contributing to the increase in people displaying firearms at police.
In addition to the five fatal incidents, police also wounded a man earlier this month after the suspect stabbed a police K-9.