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Veteran Speedway officer fatally shot man during foot chase, officials say

Speedway police stock photo 2
Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 17:11:14-04

SPEEDWAY — The Speedway officer who fatally shot a man on Feb. 12 is a 21-year-veteran with the department, a spokesman said Monday.

Officer Robby Harris fired the shots that later killed 28-year-old De'Aire Gray, Speedway Police Department Lt. Jim Thiele said.

Harris joined the department in April 2000. He will remain on paid administrative leave while the department and a special prosecutor investigate the shooting, Thiele said.

According to a preliminary probable cause affidavit, Harris and other officers were called to the 5900 block of West 25th Street about 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 to investigate a man who had been living in a car and defecating in a parking lot.

Officers were talking to a nearby neighbor when, according to the affidavit, Gray approached the Chevrolet Cavalier they were investigating, opened the passenger door and climbed inside.

Officers tried to talk to Gray, but he told them “he didn’t like how they were walking up on him.”

Gray ran away, according to the affidavit. Officer Scott Highland, the officer who wrote the affidavit, caught Gray and tried to use a Taser, but it was ineffective.

Highland dropped his Taser and was retrieving it when Officer Madeline O’Day radioed that the suspect had a gun.

Someone radioed that shots had been fired, according to the affidavit. Highland wrote in the affidavit that Gray "had a black firearm in his hand and had pointed it at officers.”

In a Feb. 13 news release, Lt Angel Rodriguez said: "During the foot chase, the suspect displayed a weapon.” The release did not say the weapon was a firearm or that it had been pointed at officers.

Speedway police arrested Gray on initial charges of resisting arrest and pointing a firearm.

The initial press release issued by the Speedway Police Department hours after the shooting said Gray's wounds did not appear to be life-threatening at the time. He was taken to Eskenazi Hospital where he died Feb. 21 of “multiple gunshot wounds,” according to the Marion County coroner’s office.

According to court records, the Marion County prosecutor’s office declined to file charges on Feb. 19, two days before Gray died.

The incident was captured on body cameras. Speedway police declined WRTV’s request for body camera video and other evidence, saying that decision now rests with Special Prosecutor Chris Gaal.

Gaal, the former Monroe County prosecutor, would not release evidence to WRTV and declined to comment, saying the incident remained under investigation. Gaal did not say when the investigation would be complete.

Michael Leffler, a spokesman for Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, said it is common for special prosecutors to be appointed to investigate shootings by officers that result in a suspect’s death.

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