Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Norfolk Southern police officer shoots 13 year old during car chase

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Elkhart County IN May 10 2017 The Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office says the suspect shot by a Norfolk Southern Railway officer Sunday night was a 13-year-old teen. He is currently in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the shoulder but is expected to be released later today.
The teen will likely be taken into custody by Indiana State Police once he is released, according to Elkhart County Prosecutor Vickie Becker, who updated the media during a news conference Tuesday.
Felony fleeing and other possible charges are being considered for the teen. Right now that will be in juvenile court, and could be moved to adult court.
The prosecutor’s office is still investigating if charges against the officer are appropriate of if use or force was justified, as is routine with any officer-involved shooting.
The Norfolk-Southern officer was formerly an Elkhart County sheriff's deputy, according to Becker, who went on to say NFS officers must meet state-mandated training requirements.
The shooting
Police say they were involved in a car chase with the suspect Sunday night. They say an officer began the chase after attempting to stop a vehicle for dangerous driving behavior and other traffic violations.
The railroad officer heard the call and joined in.
The chase ended in a yard near CR 20 and CR 100 . The suspect pulled in and that's when police tried to block him from leaving. That's when the Norfolk Southern Railway officer shot him, according to officials.
The teen then got out of his car and tried to run, but was restrained as officers waited for medical personnel, according to the prosecutor's office.
Neighbors say they heard four or five shots. One of those shots punctured the siding of a nearby house. That neighbor says the suspect wasn't being very cooperative, and she overheard an officer say he might have a gun.
Scott LePla, who owns the yard where the shooting happened, says he hears a lot of sirens on the road but nothing like this.
"There was probably four or five police officers out here. Two of their cars and the suspect's car in my lawn and then mass confusion after that. Probably another 20 cop cars showed up,” LePla said.
In a statement, the Indiana State Police say Norfolk Southern police officers are official law enforcement officers with full police powers.
Norfolk Southern said in a statement that the officer involved is on administrative leave while state police investigate. The company says it is cooperating fully with that investigation.


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