RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ind. — The Randolph County Prosecutor’s Office has declined to file criminal charges against two sheriff’s deputies involved in a fatal shooting in New Pittsburg on Oct. 24.
In a statement released Saturday, RCPO officials reported that body camera footage and police reports related to the incident were reviewed. After the review, Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney David M. Daly said he did not find the deputies’ actions to be criminal.
“I do not find that the facts in this case warrant the filing of criminal charges against the officers,” Daly wrote. “I do not find that their actions taken in response to the actions of (the shooter) to be criminal. For the foregoing reasons, I am declining to file charges against either of the two deputy sheriffs involved in the shooting.”
Muncie native Brayden Daniel Barnhouse, a 19-year-old, was killed during the shooting.
Initial incident reports, indicate Barnhouse shot at the deputies. The officers subsequently returned fire at Barnhouse.
The Randolph County Prosecutor’s Office reported that it believes Barnhouse pulled a concealed handgun from underneath his shirt and fired at officers. One of the deputies was struck in the face, sustaining “a glancing injury,” according to RCPO officials.
Barnhouse was struck by gunfire twice during the exchange, per RCPO. Officials reported that Barnhouse was lying on the ground when he was shot a second time.
“As Mr. Barnhouse was on the ground, he made furtive movements and appeared to be reaching from behind his back to his front after being shot,” Daly wrote. “He was shot a second time and still (appeared) to be reaching for a gun when (deputies were) finally able to restrain him.”
“From the officers’ perspective, these events occurred very quickly. Mr. Barnhouse’s actions while lying on the ground support a reasonable belief that Mr. Barnhouse still posed a threat to the officers. His gun was lying within arm’s reach and his actions could be interpreted as threatening.”
Indiana State Police investigated the shooting. The investigation concluded when RCPO decided not to file charges against the deputies involved in the shooting.
During its examination of the incident, ISP determined that deputies were called to the area (the 4000 block of East Elm Street in Union City) on a report of a person overdosing. Deputies later located the individual they were called to check out near Main and First Streets in New Pittsburg.
“In criminal prosecution, the State must disprove, beyond a reasonable doubt, any defense, including the use of deadly force for self-defense or the defense of a third party,” Daly wrote in a statement. “I do not believe that the officers’ use of deadly force under the circumstances to be unreasonable.”