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Special prosecutor: State Police investigating Speedway officer who fatally shot man with schizophrenia

DeAire white suit.jpeg
Posted at 11:15 AM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 12:05:48-04

SPEEDWAY — A team of Indiana State Police detectives are investigating the actions of a Speedway police officer who fatally shot a suspect last month, Special Prosecutor Chris Gaal announced Tuesday.

“It was in the best interests of all involved that an independent law enforcement agency assume responsibility for conducting the investigation,” Gaal said in a written statement.

Officer Robby Harris, a 21-year veteran, shot De’Aire Gray twice during a foot chase on Feb. 12. Gray, 28, pulled a weapon as he ran from officers, Speedway police said.

Gray, who battled schizophrenia, died on Feb. 21.

DeAire white suit.jpeg
De'Aire Gray, 28, was fatally shot by a Speedway police officer on Feb.12.

“This independent investigation is currently being pursued diligently,” Gaal said. “My goal is to ensure that evidence is collected and examined in as sterile an environment as possible, which I will strive to do throughout the investigation.”

Gray’s mother, Tanya Atkins, told WRTV he suffered from schizophrenia. In September, a Marion County judge found Gray mentally incompetent to stand trial on charges of arson.

It was not clear if officers who chased Gray knew he suffered from a mental illness. Harris had received special training in how officers should approach people with mental illness, a Speedway police supervisor said.

David S. Lipschultz, Atkins’ attorney, declined to comment Tuesday. Last week, Atkins and her lawyers sent a letter asking the town of Speedway and Gaal to publicly release the body camera video.

Speedway police and Gaal have declined to comment on the case and have not released body camera video of the incident.

In his statement, Gaal promised to conduct an honest and transparent investigation. He said he will not try the case in the media.

“This independent investigation is currently being pursued diligently,” Gaal said. “My goal is to ensure that evidence is collected and examined in as sterile an environment as possible, which I will strive to do throughout the investigation.”

RELATED | Family of man killed by Speedway police wants body camera video released | Veteran Speedway officer fatally shot man during foot chase, officials say | Special prosecutor investigating Speedway officer who fatally shot suspect

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.