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UPDATE: No exchange of gunfire in fatal Huntington police shooting, police say

Police now say a suspect who was fatally shot by officers in Huntington during a chase on a backhoe did not exchange gunfire with police.
Credit: WPTA
Police investigate the scene in Huntington, Ind. where a man on a backhoe was shot and killed by officers on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020.

HUNTINGTON, Ind. — State police are investigating an overnight shooting in Huntington that left the suspect dead and a Huntington police officer wounded.

The officer suffered serious, but non-life threatening, injuries, according to a statement from ISP.

The incident started around 3:35 a.m. Sunday when Huntington police responded to a disturbance call in the 100 block of Shultz Drive on the city’s southwest side.  

Officers encountered a man operating a backhoe and destroying property around the neighborhood. Police and members of the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department became engaged in a lengthy pursuit of the suspect around the neighborhood, including the Horace Mann Elementary and Riverside Middle School campuses. 

Police say the man on the backhoe continued causing damage to private and public property during the pursuit. At that time, officers believed the suspect's actions were creating an "imminent danger" for police and civilians and fired their weapons, fatally wounding him.

(NOTE: State police initially said there was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and police, but said further investigation revealed the only shots fired came from police.)

The suspect was later identified as 36-year-old Matthew T. Melzoni of Wabash, Indiana.

The officer was driven to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, where he was last listed in serious but stable condition. Police did not say how the officer was injured.

No other officers nor bystanders were injured during the course of the incident.

Once the criminal investigation is complete, the police will turn over the investigation to the prosecutor.

State police will not be releasing the identities of the officers involved in this incident until the prosecutor has reviewed the completed case investigation and authorizes the release of that information.

Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison recused herself from the case during the investigation. Whitley County Prosecutor D.J. Sigler was assigned as a special prosecutor for the case.  

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