SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WTHR) - A Southport police officer died Thursday evening, hours after he was shot while stopping to help the victims of a car crash.
Police documents show that 28-year-old Jason Brown was one of the people inside that crashed car. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office filed a charge of murder against Jason Brown Tuesday afternoon. “What we are announcing against the man accused should not distract our attention from the service provided by Lieutenant Aaron Allan,” Prosecutor Terry Curry commented. “This is a tragic loss for the community and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends of Lt. Allan and the Southport Police Department.”
The case is set for a hearing Thursday.
Police say Brown remains hospitalized recovering from gun shot wounds.
Lt. Aaron Allan, 38, was responding to a report of an accident with injury near Madison Avenue and Maynard Drive around 2:30 p.m. When he arrived on the scene, one of the occupants of the vehicle fired shots, striking Allan at least once.
The name of the second person has not been released. On Friday, IMPD said the passenger in the vehicle had been interviewed as a witness and released. They said any charging decision would be made by the Marion County prosecutor.
Brown has a criminal history with a 30-day sentence for possession of a controlled substance on his record. He was also convicted of driving on a suspended license.
Eyewitnesses told Eyewitness News crews at the scene the car hit the median while driving too fast and flipped onto its roof, crashing on the side of the road.
"I heard a lot of pop pop pop pop pop pop and I got up and looked out the window," said witness Rachel Andrews. "I saw shots being fired into the vehicle. And the arms flailing."
"The first officer that approached the vehicle was shot by the perpetrator, while it is still hanging upside down in a seatbelt," said another witness, Rick.
Another witness in a car saw the suspect.
"He's acting like his legs were hurting real bad and all of a sudden he just jumps up. Jumped up out of nowhere and start laying off shots. And all you see is the cop go down. Blood everywhere," the witness said.
People in cars say they were in the suspect's line of fire, too.
"The bullets were going by us," Justin Braunagel sais. "If it weren't for her pulling out fast, I would've got shot."
Witnesses say they saw an off-duty officer pull over to help. But when they did, Julian Dewbrew says, "all you see is, like, a bullet go and look like it hit their car. It almost hit our car if we didn't back up."
"While the police were firing at the vehicle, they had to literally yell at people to get back," Andrews said.
She says in the confusion some good Samaritans, just driving up on it, may have thought it was an innocent car crash with innocent people needing help, just as Allan apparently believed. But Andrews said "you could see the smoke coming from the gun. Both of the guns actually."
Witnesses say while one suspect was shooting it out with police, "the other one got out of the car and tried to enter that house over there."
An officer from the Homecroft Police Department and an off-duty Johnson County sheriff's deputy, who had also stopped to help the crash victims, returned fire, striking one of the individuals.
Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox says the deputy was a reserve deputy with the department. Sheriff Cox confirms that reserve was off duty in his personal car at the time of the crash and shooting.
Allan was taken to Eskenazi Health, where Metro Police announced his passing during a press conference at 7:30 p.m.
Brown and the other person in the car were also taken to Eskenazi Health, one with gunshot wounds from the officers' returning fire, the other with injuries sustained in the traffic crash. It is not clear if Brown was the person who was shot.
Allan, a 20-year law enforcement veteran, had served the Southport Police Department for nearly six years. His death is the first line-of-duty death in Southport police history.
He is survived by his wife and children.
Allan was named the Southport Police Department's Officer of the Year in 2015 for saving a person's life.
He was also there last October when the department made three-year-old Sam Williams an honorary officer in the department. Williams, who was a regular visitor to the police station, was also given an automated toy police cruiser, which was paid for by officers' donations.