INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor held a press conference Thursday morning to discuss two deadly officer-involved shootings and the death of a pregnant woman after she was hit by an officer’s car. All of these events happened in the span of less than eight hours.
The first officer-involved shooting occurred just after 6 p.m. According to Assistant Chief Chris Bailey, Deputy Chief Adams saw a man recklessly driving a vehicle, and he nearly hit other vehicles. Adams was in an unmarked car, and he asked for assistance in a pursuit. Taylor assisted Adams, and they removed themselves from the pursuit as others joined, which is standard procedure.
Officers chased the driver to the area of 56th and Lafayette before terminating the pursuit.
The driver pulled into a parking lot near 62nd Street and Michigan Road, and he got out of his vehicle. An IMPD officer spotted him and got out of his car. The driver ran from the officer.
Bailey says there was a confrontation between the officer and the driver. The officer deployed his taser which appeared to be ineffective. An exchange of gunfire between the officer and the suspect followed. Taylor ballistic evidence shows both Reed and the officer fired their weapons, but at this time, it is unclear which shots were fired when. Taylor said the driver fired the gun at least twice.
The driver, who was later identified as 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed, died, and the officer was uninjured. Police say a loaded gun was found and recovered nearby.
Taylor said they have reason to believe the gun belonged to Reed. It is a distinct gun with an orange mark, and that same gun can be seen in some of Reed’s photos on social media.
Reed livestreamed the incident and the final moments leading up to his death. That video has since been widely shared on social media.
Taylor addressed the livestream and one particular comment that could be heard on the video. An officer can be heard on the livestream saying, “Looks like it’s going to be a closed casket, homie.”
Taylor said, “These comments are unacceptable and unbecoming of our police department.” He said appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the officer that made the comments.
“I’m heartbroken to hear that any of my officers made comments like that,” Taylor said.
Taylor also said the officer that made the comments wasn’t on scene at the time of the shooting, and they are not releasing his identity at this time. He said the detective that can be seen turning off the live video did not make those comments.
When asked if the shooting was justified, Taylor said, “At this point I have no reason to think that the officer didn’t act appropriately.” But he said he’s willing to wait and see how this turns out.
The second officer-involved shooting occurred on the city’s north side near West 79th Street and Township Line Road. IMPD says they were called to an apartment complex in the area to investigate a burglary around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
Four officers approached the apartment, and a man immediately began firing at them.
Officers returned fire and struck the man, who died at the scene. No officers were injured.
Taylor said the 911 call may have come from inside the apartment, and their investigation indicates the suspect may have made a 911 call with the intention to ambush officers.
The suspect was later identified as 19-year-old McHale Rose.
Also, around 9:45 p.m. on the south side of Indianapolis, an IMPD officer was reporting to work when he hit a pregnant woman while traveling northbound on South Harding Street, approaching the eastbound ramp of I-465.
During the presser, they said the woman was in a lane of traffic in dark clothing in an area without a street light.
The officer, identified as Officer Jonathon Henderson, a 22-year IMPD veteran, rendered first aid at the scene until medics arrived. The woman was transported to a hospital in critical condition. Despite their best lifesaving efforts, the woman and her unborn child were died, IMPD says.
The victim was identified as 23-year-old Ashlynn Lisby.
Taylor said it was a difficult night for our community filled with tragedy. “I don’t have words that will heal the wounds.”
Protestors planned to gather at the City-County Building at noon. Taylor was asked if he had a message for the protestors. He said, “I understand where you’re coming from. I understand your concerns… But understand that everything you see on social media and everything you hear on social media may not be accurate… There is a story out there that is true, I think we are in line with it at this point…I am certainly not trying to villainize either of these young men… We have some information concerning them, but I’m not going to share that at this point. I think the families are owed some respect… I’m going to give you the truth, whether we’re in the right or the wrong..Give us time. That’s not to make an excuse—it’s to give you transparency.”
Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement Thursday in response to the officer-involved shootings.
“Last night, our city experienced a series of tragedies that raise understandable questions and once again reveal the scars of mistrust left behind by a national legacy of discrimination against communities of color.
As these incidents are investigated and reviewed by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, we are committed to ensuring that these processes are transparent and that information is released as it becomes available.
My prayers are with the families of those killed and with the police officers involved. These moments produce heartache for all and passion for many. As we recommit ourselves to building bridges between our police force and the neighborhoods they serve, I urge residents to channel their sadness and frustrations into peaceful change.”Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett