INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indianapolis police defend the actions of one of their officers after an officer-involved shooting Wednesday night leaves one man in the hospital.
According to IMPD Major Richard Riddle, an officer was dispatched to a home near East Washington Street and South Sherman Drive around 3 p.m. on Wednesday in response to a reported theft.
On Thursday investigators with the IMPD say their officer was being attacked by the suspect before the shots were fired.
Police repeatedly said the suspect in this case tried to grab their officers weapon and that forced the officer open fire.
The suspect’s family is telling a much different tale.
It all started with 911 call from a teen who claimed her father stole her cell phone and credit card.
When the first officer wrestled the suspect Stephen Cole to the ground, police say Stephen’s brother Gerald Cole jumped into the fight.
“Gerald Cole attacked the officer from behind and attempted to disarm the officer by trying to remove his weapon from his holster. A quick and violent struggle over the gun ensued,” said IMPD major Richard Riddle.
Police say that’s when their officer fired two rounds hitting Gerald Cole in the arm and back.
“When he drew his gun, my understanding is my son ran and that’s how he got shot in the back,” said Cole’s mother Mary Cole.
Mary Cole is the mother of both suspects.
She didn’t witness the shooting but doesn’t believe her son Gerald reached for the officer’s weapon and says he should not have been shot.
“He didn’t have a weapon, so why was he even shooting him?” said Cole. “His life wasn’t threatened. He wasn’t doing anything to threaten his life or anything.”
Gerald Cole remains in serious condition, but his wounds are not said to be life threatening.
While his family questions the validity of the police story, investigators with the IMPD say eye witnesses told them the struggle over the gun did happen and that action posed a danger to the officers life.
“Most reasonable people can assume if the suspect took the officer’s weapon, he would use that weapon against our officer and due to that threat our officer discharged his weapon against Mr. Cole,” said Riddle.
Criminal charges have not yet been filed against Gerald Cole.
His brother Stephen was taken to jail for resisting arrest.
James Perry has been an officer with IMPD since June 2014. He has been placed on administrative leave which is the standard for all officers involved in these incidents.