UPDATE: Following an investigation, the prosecutor’s office determined the officer acted reasonably and in self-defense when he shot Shelly L. Haendiges. No criminal charges will be brought against the officer involved.
KOKOMO, Ind. (June 16, 2015)--The family of a teenager shot and killed by a Kokomo police officer has retained a wrongful death attorney.
Attorney Richard Waples, an Indianapolis based attorney, tells FOX59 the Haendiges hired him in the days following the shooting. According to his website, Waples has over 25 years litigating wrongful death, false arrest, constitutional claims, consumer class actions and police misconduct cases.
The 17-year-old allegedly attempted to rob the Casey's General Store in Kokomo Friday night.
As police arrived,they say Haendiges was pointing a gun at the store clerk. Once the responding officers ordered her to drop her weapon, she allegedly pointed the gun towards police.
"The officer identified himself and ordered the female to drop the weapon at which time the female pointed the weapon at the officer. The officer then fired two shots," said Major Brian Seldon with the Kokomo Police Department.
Shelly Haendiges,17, loved the outdoors, looking after her animals and she just finished her junior year of high school. She was also baptized in the fall.
Kokomo police later discovered the teenager wasn't carrying a real gun. Police say she had a CO2 powered semi-automatic handgun.
"When the threat was presented to the officer, I mean the officer had to make a split-second decision so at the time we don't know," said Seldon.
Jeff Jacobs is the general manager at Dark Armies paintball in Indianapolis. He is an expert when it comes to CO2 powered weapons.
"Paintball guns are not realistic, but BB guns and the new air-soft guns are made a lot more realistic--I think more realistic than they should be. They are so realistic that you can't even tell the difference," said Jacobs.
"We have a split-second decision to make out here on the street therefore if we feel the threat is toward the officer or threat toward a witness or individual we have to make a decision whether to use deadly force or not," said Seldon.
Police say 10-year Kokomo police veteran Roy Smith fired his weapon twice.
The Kokomo Police Department is still investigating the case.