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Man killed during traffic stop was shot multiple times allegedly pulling gun on officers

Posted at 3:17 PM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 15:19:42-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Five days after a man was shot and killed by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers during a traffic stop, Chief Bryan Roach provided more details about what policy said happened during the incident.

IMPD Flex Team officers shot and killed Deshon Downing, 45, after he allegedly showed a gun during a traffic stop Friday evening.

Roach addressed the media at a press conference Wednesday, five days after the shooting, to give an update on where the investigation stands.

"It's tragic what happened, on both sides," Chief Roach said. "It affects all of us. So I express my deepest sympathy to both the officers and the (Downing) family at the same time."

Roach says IMPD’s second shift Flex Team was doing surveillance in the 4200 block of Brentwood Drive because it’s an area they have seen violence and narcotics activity in the past.

During that surveillance, one of the officers saw what they believed to be a narcotics transaction involving a van and called it in to the other officers in the area, Roach said. A second officer in a fully-marked police cruiser, but wearing plain clothes, spotted the van along 42nd Street and performed a traffic stop.

Roach said the stopping officer approached the vehicle on the passenger side, because of the high traffic on 42nd Street, and asked both the driver and passenger for identification. The driver gave his identification to the officer but the passenger, later identified as Downing, said he didn’t have any, so he gave the officer a name and date of birth, Roach said.

The officer was able to verify the driver’s identity but was not able to confirm Downing’s identity. By this time two additional officers arrived on scene and the three officers approached the passenger side of the vehicle and one of the officers attempted to open the door to remove Downing, Roach said.

Roach said one of the officers then saw Downing reach down into his waistband and pull out a gun.

"The officer said he pushed back off of Downing so he wouldn't get shot in the head," Roach said. “He hears the other two officers making commands and shooting."

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The witnessing officer heard shots fired, but was not able to verify which weapon the shots came from.

Roach said officers fired their weapons, the third officer was the one who initiated the traffic stop and is being questioned as the witnessing officer.

Investigators are still waiting for the full autopsy report from the Marion County Coroner, but Roach says Downing was shot multiple time on his left side.

Two guns were located at the scene, according to Roach. One of them was outside the driver side of the vehicle on the ground and the other one was underneath the driver seat. Both guns collected at the scene are being processed. Roach says they will look at DNA and fingerprints from the guns to determine if they were used and who used them.

The officers are under two investigations, according to Roach, a criminal investigation and an administrative investigation.

"On the criminal side of the investigation, the officers have the right to remain silent," Roach said.

Roach says there is not any video or witness statement that puts the entire situation together, although nothing they have been told indicates that anything else happened other than what the witnessing officer told investigators at the scene.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office will make a final decision on whether charges will be sought against the officers involved.

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The three officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting. The officers, two white men and a Hispanic man, have 20 years of combined law enforcement service. They have not been identified at this time.

No body worn camera footage is available from the shootings, because the Flex Team officers involved were not wearing body cameras. IMPD recently began a large-scale study phase with body cameras, but they are currently only assigned to middle-shift beat officers.

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IMPD also released the below timeline of the what lead up to and followed the shooting Friday evening.

8:15 p.m.-Officers conduct a traffic stop
8:22-Officers advise they one suspect down and incident command is established
8:24-Control holds all but emergency radio traffic
8:25-Officers on scene advise no officers are injured one suspect down and is lying on top of a gun
8:25-Notification of OIS sent to IMPD Command Staff
8:25-CIRT Team notified via staff page
8:26-Medics staging area established
8:28-Scene safe for medics
8:29-Arriving officers advised there is sufficient help on the scene
8:31-On call prosecutor notified
8:32-Incident command transferred to east district supervisor
8:34-Suspect confirmed deceased by medics
8:36-POST Team requested
8:37-IMPD Chaplain requested
8:45-On-duty ERG requested for crowd control
8:49-Communications van responding to the scene
8:56-Homeland Security responding to the scene with the drone
9:21-Incident Command transferred to east district commander
10:45-Radio channels split
11:55-On-duty ERG units mark in service
12:55 a.m.-Radio channels brought back together
12:55-Incident Command transferred to east district late shift supervisor
3:02- Incident Command terminated-scene is released