BROWN COUNTY, Ind. — The Brown County Prosecutor's Office determined a deputy in the county acted within reason when he shot a suicidal man at a home in April.
Officers from the Brown County Sheriff's Office and the Nashville Police Department responded to the home on April 20 after receiving a call from the man's wife, who directed the officers to the man's location in the backyard. The man's daughter arrived at the home at the same time and asked if she could hug her father, who had told deputies to stand back and was clearly wearing a holstered revolver.
(NOTE: The video in the player above is a report from the initial incident in April.)
According to the prosecutor's office, the man's wife approached him and he pulled out the revolver, causing one of the deputies to draw his firearm and order the man to put the gun down. However, the man reportedly then pointed the revolver at the deputy, striking the officer's hand and firearm.
The deputy reportedly did not fire at that time and the man turned the gun to his own head, encouraging the deputy to shoot him. After shoving his wife out of the way, the prosecutor's office said the man again pointed his gun at the deputy, who then fired his weapon three times, striking the man twice.
It was later learned that the man's revolver was not loaded at the time of the incident.
The man was taken to an Indianapolis hospital by helicopter for treatment, but survived his wounds.
The prosecutor's office said the deputy and witnesses to the incident would not have been able to know the man's gun was not loaded and acted appropriately, having given the man at least 14 commands to drop his revolver or "get back." The incident, which the prosecutor's office said lasted just 14 seconds, was recorded by the deputy's body-worn camera.
"The deputy's actions were completely lawful as he had a reasonable fear for his life and for the life of others on the scene," the prosecutor's office wrote.
The responding departments had requested an independent investigation of the shooting by Indiana State Police, which turned its findings over to the prosecutor's office.
While the deputy involved was cleared, the prosecutor's office said it intends to file criminal charges against the man, who was not identified.
The names of the officers involved were also not released by the prosecutor's office.