INDIANAPOLIS — After Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury announced Tuesday that a grand jury had declined to indict an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer in the shooting death of Dreasjon Reed, an Indiana State Police lieutenant discussed the findings ISP investigators uncovered when looking into what happened.
The shooting happened on the evening of May 6, near the intersection of Michigan Road and 62nd Street. The entire incident, from the start of a police chase to an officer firing shots at Reed, lasted just 16 minutes.
Here's what ISP learned about those 16 minutes:
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor and Deputy Chief Kendale Adams were northbound on I-65 at 6 p.m. on May 6 when Adams sees a dark Toyota vehicle in his rearview mirror try to run another vehicle off the road. Adams tries to stop the vehicle, activates his lights, but the vehicle doesn’t stop.
The chase continues on I-65 until the vehicle gets off at the 38th Street collector exit. The vehicle eventually goes northbound on Guion Road, when it’s taken over by other IMPD officers.
The chase is terminated by IMPD at the intersection of 56th Street and Georgetown Road. Under IMPD policy, the officers can terminate a pursuit but continue to follow the vehicle as long as they follow traffic laws.
After the chase was terminated, police say Reed slowed down and started obeying traffic laws and was followed by IMPD.
At the intersection of Michigan Road and 62nd Street, Reed pulled in and parked behind a business on the southwest side of the intersection, Ace Lock & Key.
The officer, DeJoure Mercer, pulled in behind Reed. Reed exited his vehicle and ran around the south side of the building and crossed Michigan Road, with Mercer chasing him.
As Mercer chased Reed across the street, he calls into dispatch Reed’s description.
“Black male, gray sweatpants,” Mercer said, according to police radio traffic released by ISP.
In the livestream video, ISP showed a frame that captured an object tucked into Reed’s pants. The object was identified to be a Glock pistol with a yellow aftermarket slide.
ISP showed still images from Reed’s video, showing a “drawing motion from Mr. Reed,” Hearon said. The butt of an orange magazine from the pistol starts to come into frame in the video, he said.
As Reed starts to draw his gun, Mercer uses a taser on him, Hearon said. According to crime scene photos, the taser probe made contact on the upper left of Reed’s back and on his upper rear left thigh.
For the taser to be fully effective, a complete circuit must be made.
“With a taser, you basically get a probe in each area and between there you get the electric wave that locks up the body,” Hearon said. “In this particular case, he gets an intermittent tase.”
Hearon said Reed was tased as he was pulling his gun out of his pants.
“This would be speculation a little bit, but the taser appears to have saved Officer Mercer’s life because it had an effect – Mr. Reed goes down,” Hearon said.
He said the ballistics and trajectory experts indicated Reed fell face down, then rolled over and sat up.
After he was tased, 15 shots total were fired – two from Reed’s gun and 13 from Mercer – in a period of eight seconds. A ballistics expert hired by ISP said Reed was turning and facing Mercer when he was shot and was still moving until final rest.
ISP couldn’t determine which shots were fired at which time.
“Definitively we can say Mr. Reed fired two shots at the scene,” he said.
Reed was shot in the left arm/shoulder area, leg, head and back of the neck, Hearon said. Several of the shots were front-to-back.
Photos from the scene after the shooting show Reed’s firearm about two feet away from his body. Hearon said when medics are called to a scene, they do not respond when a suspect still has a firearm in their hand. An officer can be seen on security video bending down and moving Reed’s gun away from his body.
ISP investigators looked at security cameras from the Indianapolis Public Library branch on Michigan Road, just north of where the shooting took place, and from Ace Lock & Key. They also examined video from Reed’s livestream, which was running during the entire incident.
The library’s security feeds didn’t capture the shooting. One of the cameras is facing in the direction that the shooting happened, but it’s motion activated. The shooting was more than 100 yards away and there wasn’t enough motion at the time of the shooting to activate the camera, ISP said. Instead, the camera caught bits of the incident before and after the shooting.
Ace Lock & Key’s camera caught the shooting, but it happened across a parking lot and a street from the camera, making it difficult to make out exactly what happened and in a proper order.
Reed’s video captured everything, but when Reed was tased, he dropped his phone and the camera was pointed at the sky when the shots were fired. From that angle, you can only hear shots and see glimpses of shell casings and dirt flying through the air.
ISP also did an analysis of the audio from Reed’s livestream, which captured the sounds of the shots being fired. Hearon said you could easily hear 14 shots, but after analyzing the audio they learned two shots were fired at the same time, making 15 shots. Police also found 15 shell casings at the scene.
The video aimed at the sky also shows two different shell casings flying across the screen at the same time.
“At almost the exact same time, we know that two shots were fired,” Hearon said. “That can’t happen unless two different shooters are shooting. Casings crossing in the air – can’t happen unless you have two different pistols firing.”
During the ISP investigation, they examined Reed’s gun for DNA. They took a swab from the trigger edges, trigger guard edges, magazine ejector button, grip knurling, slide knurling and the edges of the attachment. The DNA profile matched Reed’s and is estimated to occur just once in more than 330 billion unrelated people, ISP said.
“It is Dreasjon Reed’s DNA on that pistol,” Hearon said.
The serial number for the gun was scratched off, but an ISP lab was able to restore it. A trace of its serial number showed it was stolen from a pawn shop in Texas by Reed, Hearon said.
Watch the full press conference below. Viewer discretion is advised due to language and violent events.