INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer remains in the hospital after he was injured in a shooting Sunday night while responding to a call in Fountain Square.
According to police, just after 10 p.m. officers were responding to a report of an accident in the 1600 block of Lexington Avenue when they received additional information, including that a male in a red jacket was exposing himself, a male in a red vehicle was “acting strange” and the male in the red vehicle was intoxicated and last seen driving southbound on State Street.
IMPD said witnesses directed officers to a red Buick that reportedly left the scene and was located, along with a person fitting the description they were provided, in the 1600 block of Woodlawn Avenue.
According to police, both officers exited a fully-marked police vehicle in uniform and, within seconds, the man began to run from officers.
The officers reportedly told the man, “stop, police.” IMPD said the suspect exchanged gunfire with at least one officer in an alleyway north of Woodlawn Avenue. Police said officers had body-worn cameras on, which were activated at the time.
“I was almost to sleep, and I had turned my TV off and laid my head down and heard boom, boom, boom, boom,” said Debbie Turner, who lives in a home along the alleyway. She said she didn’t know what was going on initially.
“Immediately after, it wasn’t even a minute or so, I heard boom, boom, boom, boom again. I look out and I see red lights shining everywhere,” she said.
Turner said officers quickly flooded the area near her home and could be seen walking on both sides of her house, shining flashlights and conducting what appeared to be a search.
“I was looking outside from a window at the meantime praying a bullet didn’t come through at that time,” said Turner.
IMPD said an officer was shot during the encounter and subsequently transported to an area hospital where he was last listed in serious, but stable condition. Police said it was the crew on Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) Engine 3 that took the officer to the hospital.
Chief Randal Taylor expressed his gratitude for the assisting agencies, particularly IFD, that sprang into action and helped the injured officer to the hospital. Taylor said he rushed directly to the hospital Sunday night after getting the call about the shooting.
We’ve learned the injured officer is a one year who is currently in field training, according to IMPD. Taylor spoke highly of the officer and his family, who he has had the opportunity to meet since the incident.
“It’s disappointing that he’s had to deal with this so early on in his career. Everything I can tell from him, he’s a spectacular officer,” said Taylor. “He was in his first rotation, so he’s pretty much fresh out of the academy.”
The officer’s identity has not yet been released by the department.
“He was just hitting the time clock, doing his job, trying to make everybody in the neighborhood safe among himself,” said Turner. “I hope that officer ends up being okay and, you know, allow police to do their job protect us residents and they protected us really good last night. It just — it scared the crap out of me.”
During the exchange of gunfire, police said the suspect was also struck. The suspect, now identified as 31-year-old Mylik Hill, allegedly fled the scene and was found shortly after 11 p.m. in the area of 900 Dawson Street in a fenced-in backyard.
Taylor credits technology as playing an integral role in quickly tracking down the location of the injured suspect. IMPD deployed drones, which led to finding Hill and minimizing harm to others, he said.
“We didn’t know where he went, hence the perimeter we set up, but we were able to use drones to locate him and ultimately contain him,” said Taylor.
“Technology is always changing, but I’m really impressed with the drones and those officers that operated those because it allows us to find people without putting officers in danger,” said Taylor.
Without assistance from the drone, IMPD said Hill likely would not have been located for an “extended period of time.”
According to police, there was also a handgun found next to the suspect when he was located. Police said he was taken to the hospital, where he was last listed in serious condition.
Hill is in custody as he receives medical treatment and is currently under arrest for a warrant for theft and resisting law enforcement, as well as a warrant for a parole violation from a conviction for robbery and possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
IMPD said, “Due to sensitivity of the incident and overwhelming evidence which is still being collected and processed, IMPD detectives are still working through the probable cause affidavit. Hill remains in the hospital under police custody.”
IMPD said Sunday’s incident — which began as a call for a reported accident and turned into a shooting that injured a suspect and police officer — serves as a reminder that no one call is routine.
“I’m sure the mindset is, it’s an accident or at least it’s reported as an accident, we’re going to go help somebody out and then it ends up in a foot chase and a shooting of an officer,” said Taylor.
“It reminds our community that our officers don’t work in a realm of probability, they work in a realm of possibility,” said FOP President Rick Snyder. “So they don’t take their runs, they don’t respond based on the probabilities that they may be attacked. They respond on the possibilities that can occur.”
Taylor and Snyder both said they are concerned over a rise in violence towards officers — something that they said appears to be a nationwide trend.
Snyder said, “The initial response is ‘Here we go again.’ We’ve been seeing this escalating violence is occurring not just in Indianapolis, but across our country, violence and vitriol that’s been directed at our law enforcement officers.”
“This year has been terrible as far as law enforcement is concerned,” said Taylor. “As for our officers, we’re no stranger to it. We had officers that were stabbed just not too long ago.”
Taylor said he recognizes the majority of people would not act in a violent manner towards officers, but for those who do, they are committed to taking off the street and holding them accountable.
“There’s just, unfortunately, a small number of people willing to strike out at you. Far majority of the Indianapolis community would never consider doing those things and we are happy for that, but it is that element in our job is to identify that element and get those people off the street,” Taylor said.
Community shows support
Members of the community, including Indy’s mayor, area law enforcement and public service agencies, and residents expressed support Sunday and Monday for the injured officer and IMPD.
Mayor Joe Hogsett tweeted Sunday night:
“In the face of danger, the officers of @IMPDnews put their lives on the line to keep our community safe. Tonight we bear witness to that selfless action.
Our prayers are with the officer shot, his loved ones, and the entire IMPD family.”
Indianapolis FOP President Rick Snyder also expressed his thoughts on Twitter Sunday night:
Snyder wrote, “We have again been reminded of the dangers our IMPD Officers face every day while they stand the line for our community.
Area law enforcement agencies, including Columbus Police shared their message for IMPD:
“We would like to extend our support and send positive thoughts and prayers to the @IMPDnews officer who was shot and wounded on Sunday.”
Investigation into shooting continues
IMPD said no other officers or citizens were injured during Sunday’s incident, which remains under investigation.
IMPD’s Critical Incident Response Team responded to the scene to begin conducting the criminal investigation. Also assisting with the investigation is the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency.
The IMPD Chaplain’s Office and Victim Assistance Unit responded to the scene to help provide assistance to people involved in the incident. The Police Officer Support Team (POST) responded to provide peer support for officers.
According to police, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office was on scene and is being consulted throughout the investigation. No formal charges have been announced against anyone accused in Sunday’s incident.
IMPD’s Internal Affairs Division will conduct a separate investigation, said a department spokesperson and the officer who fired his gun has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting investigation.
At the conclusion of the criminal process, IMPD said the civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board will conduct a mandatory hearing for any use of deadly force against a person.
Detectives are asking anyone in the area who may have witnessed anything or have evidence, including home surveillance or doorbell video, to contact Detective Sergeant Leslie Vanbuskirk. She can be reached at (317) 327-3475 or by email at Leslie.Vanbuskirk@indy.gov.
You can also contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana anonymously at (317) 262-TIPS.