INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis' mayor and police chief called the fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist by officers Thursday a "tragedy," and the chief said that criminal and internal affairs investigations were underway.
The motorist whom coroners identified as Aaron Bailey, 45, sped away after being pulled over by police about 1:45 a.m. Thursday, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said. Officers chased the vehicle and, after it crashed into a fence, shot the man, Sgt. Kendale Adams said.
Police later searched Bailey's vehicle but said they found no weapon, The Indianapolis Star and WXIN-TV reported.
"The loss of any life in our city is a tragedy, and my thoughts and prayers are with all individuals and families affected," Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a statement. "Our residents expect that IMPD will stringently follow protocol by fully investigating and reviewing the actions that were taken."
Police Chief Bryan Roach said he assumed the officers involved believed their lives were in danger.
"As a department our heart goes out to that family," Roach said. "This is something that every city, every chief of police, every community, every mayor ... hopes never happens."
Roach said he expects the officers involved will at some point appear before a grand jury. After that occurs, officers can give their statements to IMPD. Until that happens, Roach said he will not know exactly what happened.
The two officers involved in the shooting were not hurt. They have been placed on routine administrative leave. Their names were not released.
Adams said not finding a weapon was not an indication the police use of force was not justified.
"Just because you don't find a weapon does not mean that it can't be reasonable" to use force, Adams told WXIN. "Obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into that when officers have to make that decision."
A woman in the car with Bailey, Shiwanda Ward, 26, also was not injured. She later was arrested on a preliminary charge of possession of paraphernalia, IMPD said.
Bailey has amassed 11 felony cases since 1996 for charges including theft, burglary, battery and drug possession, the Star reported, citing court records. He has been convicted of felonies for resisting law enforcement with the use of a vehicle, battery by body waste, drug possession, robbery and auto theft, it said.