INDIANAPOLIS – A man killed in an exchange of gunfire with police had a long criminal past, according to police records on file. The officer injured during the Tuesday night incident is continuing to recover.
According to an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department report, Officer Bryan Zotz was assisting in a traffic stop around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 3600 block of North Sherman Drive. A Chevrolet Blazer had disregarded a stop sign, police said.
The driver told officers he didn’t have a valid license, and police tried to get everyone out of the SUV. The driver and another person in the front seat got out. Officers then started to move the backseat passengers out.
Officers said one of those passengers–identified as 24-year old William E. Morris–pulled a gun during the traffic stop. According to IMPD, Zotz and another officer saw Morris reach between his feet for a handgun. Despite several verbal commands to stop, Morris continued to bring the gun up.
That led to a struggle between Zotz and Morris over control of the gun. Zotz and the other officer opened fire; Zotz, a 12-year veteran, was shot in the lower arm by Morris and transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital in good condition.
Morris was killed by gunfire.
Two other people in the vehicle, identified in the report as 20-year old Jamie Brown and 36-year Famous Thompson, were also hit. Their injuries were described as non-life threatening. The other passengers were not injured.
Two other officers on the scene did not fire their weapons.
A check of police records indicates a long criminal history for Morris, starting with a shoplifting arrest at age 11 and continuing from there. Multiple arrests involved drugs, guns, carjacking and rape. He was on parole at the time of the incident, police said.
Thompson also has multiple prior arrests that include drugs and domestic disturbances.
The car involved is also familiar to police. A passenger who was not injured by gunfire was arrested in the same car in January for driving it with a suspended license.