IMPD investigates shooting that left one dead, officer injured - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

IMPD investigates shooting that left one dead, officer, others injured

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Tony Skelton Tony Skelton
INDIANAPOLIS -

Indianapolis Metro Police launched a shooting investigation after gunfire wounded one of their own in an area of Indianapolis they call one of the city's most dangerous.

The police action shooting Tuesday night killed a suspect and hurt a veteran officer during a traffic stop at 36th and Sherman on the city's northeast side.

Tony Skelton heard the gunfire and watched the scene unfold outside his home.

"It was almost like a loud firecracker, just real quick it was pop, pop, pop, pop," Skelton said.

The shots Tuesday night killed a suspect and injured veteran Metro Police Officer Bryan Zotz, who's been on the force for 12 years.

"I looked out the window and saw someone was just pulled over. But I took less than eight steps is when I hear the shots. Then I go, [expletive] that's the police!' I never made it to my bedroom - is where I was headed. I came back and got in the window and it was going down," Skelton said.

Four officers responded to the traffic stop at 36th and Sherman, after an SUV with five people inside was pulled over for running a stop sign nearby.

They discovered was on a suspended license.

But then, police say one of the backseat passengers, 24-year-old William Morris, reached for a gun.

"He started fidgeting around, reaching around and eventually produced a gun. There was a struggle over the weapon and shots were fired," said IMPD Deputy Chief Scott Haslar.

Morris died, two passengers were shot in the legs and Officer Zotz was shot in the hand.

It's not yet clear if Morris fired his weapon or which guns caused the injuries.

Police say Morris has a long criminal history. In fact, we did some checking and discovered he was just arrested earlier this week for cocaine possession and resisting police.

Morris also has 11 criminal convictions over the past 7 years.

He was on parole at the time of Tuesday's shooting.

Police say that past and the history of this neighborhood are part of a bigger problem they're trying to stop.

Tuesday night, the officers were on directed patrols for the "46218 project", which targets what they call the one of the city's most dangerous zip codes.

Investigators say there have been 24 homicides and 90 shooting victims in the area in the past 15 months.

Police say 46218 also accounts for 15% of the murders in the entire city.

"This incident turned into what we consider kind-of a proactive routine traffic stop into a very violent episode. It's dangerous for our officers. It's dangerous for the community and through these initiatives, it's our job to take felons off the street and take weapons off the street," said IMPD Deputy Chief William Lorah.

Police say they will continue directed patrols in the area, even as one of their own recovers.

They say Officer Zotz underwent surgery on his hand and is expected to make a full recovery.

He and the other officer who fired their weapons will be placed on desk duty when they return to work, as the CERT team investigates the traffic stop shooting.

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