INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police held a press conference Tuesday to discuss evidence gathered in their investigation of the IMPD shooting death of Dreasjon Reed.
It was held a few minutes after a special prosecutor in the case announced that there would be no criminal charges for the officer involved in the shooting.
ISP Superintendent Doug Carter said the department's findings involved hundreds and hundreds of hours of investigation. He said they had two goals: To explain to the family of Dreasjon Reed what happened that day, and also to explain to the citizens of Indianapolis.
From the time police started chasing Reed, trying to pull him over for what they called erratic driving and until IMPD Officer Dejoure Mercer shot and killed Reed, 16 minutes passed. Some of it was streamed live by Reed on Facebook.
It was that livestreamed video, along with surveillance video from a library branch and a local business where Reed bailed out of his car, that ISP used to try to figure out what happened.
Investigators say they also interviewed witnesses along Michigan Road, where part of the chase occurred, and brought in ballistics experts and a shooting reconstructionist. They analyzed DNA and audio evidence, along with shell casings found at the scene.
Troopers say they cannot determine who fired the first shot that day.
“Almost exactly at the same time, two, we know two shots were fired. That can’t happen unless two different shooters are shooting,” said ISP Lt. Jeff Herron.
State police showed video taken from Reed’s phone showing shell casings flying in the air from different directions.
“Casings crossing in the air can’t happen unless you have two different pistols firing,” Herron explained.
What investigators say they also know is the gunfire didn’t start until after Officer Mercer used a taser on Reed as he was chasing him.
“He actually tases him at the same time Mr. Reed is actually starting to pull his firearm out,” Herron said.
“Mr. Reed basically goes down on his stomach and then he turns, basically in that same position onto his, basically onto his buttocks and he follows and it appears he follows Officer Mercer as he’s moving,” said Herron.
When the gunfire was over, police say two shell casings matched Reed’s gun and 13 shell casings came from Mercer’s gun.
Investigators say the gun Reed had, with an orange magazine, can be seen in the Facebook Live video under Reed’s leg, while he’s still in his car and later at the scene. According to police, DNA on that gun matches Reed’s.
The gun’s serial number, say investigators, was traced to a pawn shop in Texas, where investigators say Reed stole it.
“We have the still images from their surveillance video of him taking the gun,” said Herron.
Police say they matched shell casings from two other drive-by shootings in Indianapolis to that same gun.
“In our analyses of Mr. Reed’s phone, we found a text thread of him indicating that he did a couple, meaning two, other drive-by shootings,” said Herron, who added that no one was injured in those shootings.
State police called their investigation “methodical” and said they didn’t take it lightly, with their role only as the objective finder of fact.