BEECH GROVE, Ind. (June 8, 2015) -- Beech Grove police arrived at a home on Fourth Avenue after neighbors called to report a man with a gun. When officers arrived Monday afternoon they found 54-year-old James Johnson with a gun in his hand. Police tell FOX59 the man appeared to be intoxicated and suicidal.
"At that point he left his front porch with a firearm and was walking toward the officers moving the gun around in a fashion that would be antagonistic toward them saying 'shoot me, shoot me' the whole time," said Major Tom Hurrle with the Beech Grove Police Department.
Neighbor Jazmine Johnson, who is not related to the deceased man, witnessed the incident and says her neighbor had a history of mental illness and had gone to the hospital the night before.
"Seen all the officers surrounding my neighbor telling him to put the gun down and he did not put the gun down. The next thing you know I hear one gun shot and he was down on the ground dead," said Johnson.
One officer fired a single shot killing the suspect. Police say they're trained to deal with suicidal, intoxicated or mentally ill people but they always have to consider their safety first and the neighbors who were standing by.
"We can't gamble away their safety thinking that well maybe he's just emotionally disturbed let him walk and talk this out and eventually he'll just stop. We don't have the option to see and hope that that's going to be the case," said Hurrle.
Police say they responded to Johnson's home four times in the past eight months.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has been placed on paid administrative leave.