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Neighbors react after witnessing man with machete get shot by IMPD

Posted at 6:44 PM, Aug 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 17:20:53-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Theman shot and killed by IMPD Sunday evening has been identified as 40-year-old Kendall Gilbert. Neighbors tell WRTV he lived with his mother who they say witnessed the shooting.

"Don't point your gun at me and talk to me. Don't point your gun at me if you aint gonna pull the trigger," Gilbert yelled.

Video given to WRTV shows a man standing on the sidewalk holding a machete in front of dozens of IMPD officers standing behind their vehicles.

"Pull the trigger," he yelled.

IMPD was called for a welfare check at the Woodland Drive home around 6:45 Sunday evening after police say an elderly woman pushed her medical button saying someone was trying to kill her.

When officers arrived, they found Gilbert holding a machete, outside near the front door having what they call a mental health crisis.

Police say he was also making threats towards the officers.

"He continued to taunt the law enforcement officers. He spoke of being a representative for his people claiming about the murders and killings of his people that the police had committed and taunting them and he kept saying come make war with me," said Clark.

SWAT, the Crisis Negotiation Unit and a psychologist were on-site.

Shortly after 9 p.m. the shooting happened.

IMPD says SWAT attempted to use non lethal bean bag rounds, pepper ball and a taser to take Gilbert into custody without deadly force but claim Gilbert moved towards officers with the machete in his hand, physically making contact with a ballistics shield an officer was holding.

"Nobody wins in this. Family has lost a loved one. Officers impacted by this just as well this is not the outcome anybody wanted," said IMPD Lt. Shane Foley.

"They seemed to want to use non lethal force but we didn't understand why it took so long. They had enough officers. We thought soon it's going to happen during the daylight," said Rachelle Clark.

Neighbor, Rachelle Clark feels intervention took too long.

"Our questions were why did they wait so long. It was in the 6 o'clock hour when this began. What were they waiting for? They had two and half three hours of light and they waited until it was dark and after he charged then they shot him with lethal force but we were confident still [that he was ok] because they said oh this just the bean bags.. then we found out later that wasn't the case," said Clark.

Police responded to the same home three times within 72 hours and received a call for help from someone inside hours before the deadly shooting.

Family members claimed a male was hallucinating, destroying his room, threatening to decapitate family members, and more.

Here is a timeline of events that led up to this officer-involved shooting:

On Friday August 25th, 2023, around 2:45 p.m. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Officers responded to a home in the 4500 block of Woodland Drive for a report of a check the welfare of a male. The caller stated the male was schizophrenic and was sending out strange messages to family. No report was made.

On Saturday August 26th, 2023, around 1:30 a.m. IMPD officers responded to the same home on Woodland Drive for reports of the male suspect who was destroying property in his bedroom. The caller stated the male refused to open door for family. Officers believed the male was not a danger to others and no report was made.

Later that day, around 8:30 p.m. IMPD officers responded to that same home for reports of a male experiencing a mental episode and threatening to decapitate family members. The male was still barricaded in a room. Officers assisted getting family members out of house and provided them with information about mental health resources.

On Sunday August 27th, 2023, around 5:20 p.m. IMPD received a call at the same home from a family member saying their brother was hallucinating and stating he would burn house down and. Officers spoke with caller and told the family member to leave residence.

Later that evening, around 6:45 p.m., officers responded to a check the welfare call at the same address of a woman after she pushed her medical button stating someone was trying to kill her. When officers responded to the scene, they found the adult male outside near the home’s front door. As officers approached, they observed the male to have a machete and was making threats toward officers. Officers were able to help the other family members out of the house.

"I don't think it had to end like this but I pray for the woman. His mother who pushed that button and now she has a dead son," said Clark.

Neighbors we spoke to also expressed concern with the city's clinician led- mental health response and IMPD Mobile Crisis Assistance teams.

"Mental health calls are all through the week, not just the weekends ya know. Crisis go on regardless ya know and so somebody has got to be available and so police is only unit available to take care of those issues," said Adrian Duncan.

City's Response:

"Our thoughts go out to all involved in yesterday’s incident. 

Over the past several years, the City of Indianapolis has greatly expanded the number of emergency mental health resources to those who need them.

Currently, Mobile Crisis Assistance Teams (MCAT) operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Those teams are comprised of a clinician and an IMPD officer. They are present in every IMPD district. 

Clinician-Led Community Response Teams, comprised of a clinician and a peer specialist, are currently active in Downtown District from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days per week. Mayor Hogsett’s proposed 2024 budget includes an expansion of the clinician-led teams to East District. As the teams reach budgeted staffing, they will shift to 24-hour operations. 

Residents can also use the Assessment and Intervention Center, which is located on the Community Justice Campus. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering support for those experiencing mental health and substance abuse crises. Free rides to and from the AIC are available. Call at (317) 327-8733.

We will continue to engage with the community to shape and grow efforts around mental health response.

Any additional information regarding yesterday’s case will come from IMPD."

The officer who fired his gun is a 28-year veteran of the department and is on administrative leave.

IMPD's Critical Incident Response team, and the Marion County Prosecutor's Office also responded to the scene.

A separate administrative investigation is also being conducted.