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IMPD on fatal police shooting inside semitruck: ‘This officer saved a woman’s life’

One person dead in southwest side police shooting – News 8 at 10:30 p.m.

UPDATE: The Marion County Coroner’s Office identified the suspect shot and killed by police as 60-year-old Lamont Bland.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The male driver of a semitruck died in a police shooting Thursday night after a 911 caller told police they heard a woman yelling for help inside the parked vehicle near a restaurant on the southwest side of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says no officers were hurt. Medics treated the woman at the scene before she was taken to the downtown IMPD homicide office to be interviewed. Police hoped to learn the relationship between her and the driver. The name of the driver nor the woman were publicly shared Thursday night.

IMPD was sent to a “call for help” involving a hostage situation about 7:20 p.m. Thursday at McDonald’s, 4941 Knights Way. That’s in an area with restaurants, hotels and truck stops just southwest of the interchange for I-69 and I-465.

Medics were called to the scene for a person shot just before 7:45 p.m. Thursday.

Lt. Shane Foley of IMPD says officers arrived to learn of a disturbance inside the semitruck and then forced their way into the cabin. The officers saw what appeared to be a hostage situation, Foley says.

Assistant Chief Chris Bailey described what happened during an impromptu news conference about 10:30 p.m. that aired live on News 8. He talked about a lieutenant who moved into the cab to try to talk to the driver before the fatal shooting.

“Tonight, this officer saved a woman’s life,” he said.

Officers arrived and spoke with the 911 caller, who pointed out the semitruck. They knocked on the door and saw the driver come from behind a curtain that separates the driving compartment from the sleeping compartment. Police tried to talk to the driver, who briefly sat in the driver’s seat before returning back to the sleeping compartment.

“That’s when the officers heard themselves a female scream from the back of that truck,” Bailey said.

Officers sat up around the semitruck and made announcements. Eventually, police decided to break out the driver’s-side window to better see into and hear from the cab. In addition to the curtain separating the compartments, a curtain also was over the driver’s-side window.

Bailey said, “The lieutenant at one point opened the door and began communicating with the male inside … the truck. The lieutenant asked the individual to identify himself. The lieutenant identified himself by first name. He was attempting to build a rapport with this individual. This individual kept saying he had a knife to the woman’s throat. All the while, the woman could be heard screaming that she was bleeding and needed help. This went on for a few minutes.

“The lieutenant, in my opinion, bravely inched into the car on multiple occasions to move the curtain back so he could see and continue to try to communicate with the individual inside the cab.”

IMPD later reported that the driver told officers multiple statements, including “I’m going to kill her,” “I got a knife to her throat,” and “You’re gonna die.”

Eventually, the lieutenant got inside the semitruck and gave the driver orders again.

“You can briefly see, on the bodycam, the individual on top of the woman in back of the car. A shot was fired by the officer. The suspect was deceased inside the cab of the truck,” Bailey said.

The assistant chief says other officers then came and freed the woman from the semitruck.

Officers were seeking other witnesses at the scene in addition to the 911 caller.

IMPD about 8:45 p.m. Thursday was awaiting warrants to search the semitruck, but the investigators were inside the semitruck by 10:30 p.m. An IMPD news release issued about 11:20 p.m. said a razor blade with blood was found in the sleeping cabin.

Multiple officers were equipped with body-worn cameras, which were activated.  

As is standard procedure, investigations will look into what happened and the police procedures used. The lieutenant will be placed on administrative leave. Bailey says other officers on the scene also may receive time off to process what happened.

The police shooting was the 17th in 2023. It’s the most police shootings since 20 were recorded in 2015. Police generally release the names of officers in the shootings about a week after they happen. Bodycam footage is usually shared a few weeks later.

Earlier this month, IMPD revealed it’s reached out to the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum to submit a bid to conduct a study on what’s causing so many police shooting to happen. However, that process has yet to come to fruition, Bailey said Thursday night.

After another police shooting, IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams spoke at an August event, where he acknowledged the need for a larger conversation about what it looks like to deal with mental health, disputes, and trauma.

Photo from News 8 reporter Adam Pinsker

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