Family says slain suspect wouldn’t point, shoot at police

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The man shot and killed by Indianapolis police Sunday has been identified.

IMPD says 36-year-old Mack Long had a lengthy criminal history involving drugs, guns and robbery, and was carrying a gun on Sunday. Long's family doesn't dispute that. In fact, they provided a picture to Eyewitness News in which he can be seen wearing a gun holstered on his side. They said that was the same gun he had on him Sunday.

“He probably had a gun on him for personal protection,” said Terrell Harris, Long's stepson, “but other than that, he's not gonna pull no gun on no officer because he knows for a fact that if he pulls a gun, they gonna shoot him. He knew that.”

Around 3:15 Sunday afternoon, officers stopped a silver car near 30th and Sherman, according to investigators. Long was reportedly in the passenger seat and bailed when police pulled them over and ran down 31st Street. After a short chase, at least two officers caught up with him. There was a struggle in a wooded area of a back yard and that's when Long was shot and killed.

“At this point, we believe...the suspect was struggling with the officer -- with the officer's weapon,” IMPD Ofc. Christopher Wilburn said Sunday after the incident.

When asked at the time if Long pulled a gun on the officers, Wilburn would only say, "That's under investigation."

That lack of immediate information led to speculation by Long's relatives and friends.

“If my brother wanted to shoot that officer when he got out of the car on Sherman, he would have shot then," said James Long. "My brother ran because he was scared because he knew he had a weapon on him."

That fear came because Long was a convicted felon with drug and weapons convictions, which means he would have automatically gone back to prison. Relatives say, legal or not, carrying a gun is necessary in certain neighborhoods as a matter of protection.

“This is the environment that we are in. If we could get out of it, yeah we would, but we can't so we got to make do with what we got," Harris said. "If that means we've got to go grab a pistol and carry it to protect our family and our life, that's what we got to do."

The Ten Point Coalition, which aims to quell street violence, went to the scene Sunday after the incident, but went largely ignored by the crowd that had gathered -- some feeling they were siding with police.

“We're going to need the assistance of community leaders in this area along with faith leaders so we can try to address this so that it doesn't escalate," said Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition.

About an hour after Long was shot and killed, someone else fired multiple shots nearby. People could be seen fleeing and police, with guns drawn, looked for the shooter. The source of the gunfire couldn't be found and no one was injured, but the chaotic situation underscored just how frayed nerves are in the neighborhood.

“I'm not sure what happened in this case, but you know, there's just so many other cases with the police killing our young black men and it needs to stop,” said Whitney Beasley, who lives nearby.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office will ultimately decide if this shooting was justified.

Both of the officers suffered graze wounds but were treated on the scene.