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Man fatally shot by southwest Indiana officer after lunging with knife

Jasonville Police Chief Ryan Van Horn fatally shot Stephen Scott Wheeler after Wheeler charged at him with a knife in his hand.
Credit: Adobe Stock/vmargineanu

JASONVILLE, Ind. — A Jasonville man died after being shot when he reportedly lunged at a police officer with a knife April 29.

According to court documents, Jasonville Police Chief Ryan Van Horn responded to reports from citizens of a disruptive person outside of a home in the town. The man, later identified as Stephen Scott Wheeler, was holding a knife, and police said he refused commands to put the knife down.

Indiana State Police, who conducted the investigation, said Van Horn arrived and tried to deescalate the situation and asked Wheeler to drop the knife 15 times.

According to court documents, Wheeler refused to drop his knife and said he would shoot himself if he had a gun. Police said Van Horn shot Wheeler in the chest after the suspect charged at him.

Van Horn died from a single gunshot wound in his chest.

Police said no one else was injured in the incident.

Under Indiana law, police said Van Horn was justified in using deadly force in order to protect himself from serious bodily injury or death.

Jasonville is roughly 85 miles southwest of downtown Indianapolis.

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