Police identify man killed, officer involved after east side shooting

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2015)-- A three-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was involved in a shooting Thursday evening on the city's east side.

The shooting was reported at East 38th Street and Mitthoeffer around 7:15 p.m. after an officer conducted a traffic stop.

Donte Sowell FOX59

Donte Sowell

The car's passenger ran away during the stop. The officer stayed at the scene and called for backup. On Friday, IMPD identified the man as Donte Sowell, 27, Indianapolis.

The involved officer is Patrolman Javed Richards, who has been employed with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for 3-years.

The responding officers came in contact with a man matching the suspect's description near the Amber Woods Apartments. They said Sowell then opened fire at the police car, covering it in bullet holes. An IndyGo bus was also hit.

"Unprovoked, the suspect immediately fired his gun at the officer and the officer returned fire,” said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

Jennifer Mckown was driving along Mithoeffer Avenue and was caught in the gun battle.

"To be that close to open gun fire whether it was from the police or it was from some other guy--it freaked me out," said Mckown.

An armed security guard noticed the situation and started shooting at the suspect.

"I want to thank the citizen in helping the officer in subduing the suspect," said Hite.

Richards was shot in the right foot and was transported to the hospital. The injury is not believed to be life-threatening and the officer is listed in good condition.

"He's a strong willed individual, a fine man and God bless him. Looking at the crime scene it could have been much worse," said Hite.

Sowell was fatally wounded in the shooting, which happened in one of the six focus areas identified by the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety. Police said he had previous arrests in Marion County for dealing in a narcotic drug, possession of cocaine, controlled substance and hash oil, criminal confinement, carjacking, auto theft, carrying a handgun without a license and armed robbery.

"We want to be clear that this area is not to be taken lightly. We are going to make sure to stay in the area and we are going to continue to work. The good people of this community deserve better and we are going to give them better," said Hite.

The chief says Richards is an east district patrolman.

"The officer used amazing discipline of arms training.  We don't know what was in that man's mind when he exited the vehicle, but he had a gun on his person and he was en route somewhere.  The officer may very well have saved another life tonight," said Hite.

Richards will be placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure in any officer-involved shooting investigation.

Photos below of the police car following the shooting courtesy of IMPD: