INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Authorities say a plainclothes police officer witnessed two men shooting at each other in an Indianapolis intersection Thursday before engaging with the men and then firing shots at them.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said the shooting happened just before 1 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of East 30th Street and Shadeland Avenue.
A plainclothes IMPD police officer was stopped at the intersection when two men in two separate trucks got out of their vehicles and began shooting at each other.
The officer, who was also in an unmarked police vehicle, got out of the vehicle and began engaging with the men, Bailey said. The officer then fired his weapon at the men.
The suspects each got back into their trucks and drove away from the scene.
Bailey said the officer was able to follow one of the suspects east on 30th Street before losing sight of him.
A short time later, officers were called to the 6600 block of East 34th Street on reports of a person shot. There officers found a 44-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Eskenazi Hospital in critical, but stable condition.
Bailey said a 19-year-old man also walked into Community Hospital East suffering from a gunshot wound. That man is currently listed in stable condition.
Police believe both men were involved in the shooting at the east-side intersection.
It is unclear if the officer shot the men, or if the men shot each other, Bailey said. He said investigators are also working to determine if either of the men shot at the officer.
“Our east district officers and our north district officers and our interdiction officers were all working in this area. This is an area of concern, a high-violence area for our police department,” Bailey said. “So they were in this area doing exactly what we want them to do, however this officer, that we know of, had no interactions prior to this shootout, he just happened to be at this location when this occurred.”
The officer, who was not injured, has been placed on administrative leave which is standard policy for the department.
No dash or body camera video of the shooting is available since the officer was working in an undercover vehicle. Police are working to gather surveillance footage of the shooting from area businesses. They are also speaking with witnesses.
Alan Bettis tells News 8 he had just walked across the street to the Marathon Gas Station from work when the shooting happened.
“I heard like a crunch, almost like a car accident was happening behind me. I turned around and saw this blue dodge, I saw a gentleman like lean out the window and start shooting at a car two car lengths back,” said Bettis.
Bettis said he and a few other people who were outside the gas station at the time, ran for cover behind a van.
“The two didn’t seem like they really had any thought of what they were doing, they just kind of were going after it and it didn’t seem like they thought about the human life that was around them,” Bettis said.
Police have recovered two firearms believed to be connected to the shooting.
Investigative findings will be turned over to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and charging decisions will be made.
This report has been corrected to reflect the 44-year-old man was found in the 6600 block of East 34th Street. The 19-year-old man arrived at Community Hospital East a short time later.