INDIANAPOLIS — State police said an attempt to stop an erratic driver led to a shooting involving a trooper and a wanted man Thursday.
Two troopers in the same fully-marked ISP vehicle attempted to stop a black Dodge Charger shortly after noon May 25 on the east side of Indianapolis. The driver of the Charger had been driving erratically, police said, including speeding and following other vehicles too closely.
As the vehicle slowed to a stop, a male passenger, later identified as 23-year-old Mitez Harper, of Indianapolis, got out of the passenger side and started to flee the scene on foot toward East 34th Street and North Franklin Road. The troopers gave chase on foot, alerting dispatchers they were pursuing an armed suspect.
A short time later, ISP said, the troopers announced the man was in custody and called for medics to respond to the scene. The troopers began giving first aid to Harper, who had reportedly been shot, including applying a tourniquet to his arm, the site of the only injury on Harper's body.
He was taken to the hospital in stable condition, ISP said in a release Thursday night.
The driver of the car that was involved in the traffic stop drove away from the scene during the foot pursuit. Police said there is also an ongoing investigation to find the driver, who was not identified.
Investigators at the scene believe Harper was carrying a handgun when he ran from officers into a nearby neighborhood. He encountered Trooper Isaiah Henderson as he came out from behind a house, armed with a black handgun with an extended magazine, ISP said. Henderson shot once, hitting Harper in the arm.
Henderson, the only officer to fire a shot during the incident, was placed on administrative duty, per department policy.
Further investigation revealed Harper was wanted for kidnapping. Court records show he also had an active warrant for confinement, domestic battery, battery resulting in bodily injury, residential entry break and enter, and theft.
State police said both officers were wearing body cameras, and there was a dashboard camera in the police car. The cameras activated during the incident, and the video is being reviewed by investigators.
Just three days ago, a trooper shot a suspect at a gas station on the southeast side of Indianapolis.
Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said officers had been asked to assist another police department in making a wellness check on a person.
Perrine said according to their preliminary investigation, 30-year-old Zachary Scifres of Indianapolis “had made delusional statements earlier in the day and family members had requested the Morristown Police Department check on his welfare.”
Officers were searching for Scifres’ vehicle, a green-and-white garbage truck. At around 5 p.m., ISP Sgt. Jonathan Haugh told dispatchers he had located the truck in the 7800 block of Brookville Road. Haugh reported finding Scifres inside the truck at the Speedway gas station at 7805 Brookville Road.
According to police, Scifres got out of the truck and started walking away from Haugh. At that time, the trooper attempted to detain Scifres, who physically resisted and ran toward the gas station. As he ran toward the gas pumps, police said Scifres pulled out a handgun and fired at Haugh, who returned fire, striking the suspect.
Haugh approached Scifres, who was now on the ground, and another altercation ensued. Haugh again fired shots, then handcuffed Scifres, police said.
"Fortunately, no other bystanders were injured, although there were several people around," Perrine said.
Scifres received medical aid from police until medics arrived. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
"A tourniquet was applied by the trooper, a second trooper on scene applied a tourniquet to the suspect, who was bleeding heavily," explained Perrine.
Haugh was not injured. He was on duty and in uniform at the time of the incident, Perrine said, and his body-worn camera and a camera in Haugh’s squad car were activated.
"This was way too close to home," said Clifford Martin, who stops at the station every Monday afternoon to fill up. "There's families that go in here all the time. It's right off the highway," Martin said.
Haugh will be placed on administrative leave, as a matter of department procedure. The investigation is ongoing.