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IMPD releases timeline of events in line-of-duty death of Officer Breann Leath; police procession honors her

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Friday released a timeline of events in the line-of-duty shooting death of Officer Breann Leath.

Leath was a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, a graduate of Southport High School and a member of the Army National Guard. She was also the mother to a young child.

The 24-year-old officer was shot and killed while responding to a domestic dispute just after 2:45 p.m. Thursday in the 1800 block of Edinburge Square at an apartment complex located southeast of the I-70 interchange with I-465.

One of the last times Leath will ever be out in the streets of Indianapolis was Friday afternoon while a line of police cars escorted her to Crown Hill Cemetery.

On Thursday, a line of police cars guarded the entrance to the apartment complex hiding a scene that no one wanted to see: a young female officer killed in the line of duty.

Friday morning the apartment complex was quiet. No police cars, no police tape.

John Bates lives in the building right next door and he said he was outside when police showed up.

“I saw the first police cars pull in, and I said, ‘Well, usually this place is pretty quiet here, and I said, ‘What is going on?’ Then three more came, and then two more came,” said Bates.

Bates described the scene after the first gunshot. He wasn’t prepared. He was rattled and said officers were scrambling in all directions.

According to the timeline provided by IMPD, the shots were fired from inside the apartment while the four responding officers, including Leath, were still outside the apartment and before the officers had made verbal contact with anyone inside.

“And no sooner than they went in that door, they were coming out,” said Bates.

As the shots came, the officers backed out of the hallway and were “unable at that time to bring Officer Leath with them,” according to the timeline.

A rescue team was established and went back to get Leath as well as a woman in the hallway suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The suspect was still armed and inside the apartment during the rescue. No shots were fired by officers during the incident, IMPD said.

Bates said he saw Leath being carried from the building, police and paramedics frantically working to save her life. She was taken to a waiting ambulance and pronounced dead a short time later.

IMPD said the woman found shot was taken to a hospital, and police describe her condition as stable. She has not been publicly identified by police.

As for the suspect, police brought him into Bates’ view shortly after the ambulance left the area.

“I’m surprised they carried that guy out of there, you know what I’m saying,” Bates said.

IMPD on Friday announced the arrest of 27-year-old Elliahs Dorsey on preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder in the case.

The Central Indiana Police Foundation has established a fund in Leath’s honor at the request of her family. The fund will served as the official fundraiser to accept donations on behalf f the family, to assist with burial arrangements and to provide a trust for her young son, IMPD said Friday afternoon. Checks may be mailed to The Central Indiana Police Foundation, 1525 S Shelby Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203, with a note to indicate your donation is for the Breann Leath Memorial Fund, according to the police foundation.

Timeline from IMPD:

On April 9, 2020, at approximately 2:46pm, someone involved in domestic disturbance at the above address called 9-1-1. As a result of that call, officers were dispatched to the address. Four officers, including Officer Breann Leath, approached the apartment from where the 911 call was made. The disturbance involved a boyfriend and girlfriend.
Shortly after arriving, officers called out “shot fired”  and an “officer down” on the radio. The officers had not yet made verbal contact with those inside the apartment. The officers were outside the apartment when shots were fired. The shots came from a suspect inside the apartment. Officers backed out of the hallway unable at that time to bring Officer Leath with them.
A Sergeant on scene created a Rescue Team, and when the team of officers reentered the apartment building they pulled Officer Leath to safety and found another female victim  in the hallway suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The suspect in this incident was still armed and inside the apartment. No shots were fired by officers during this incident. After rescuing the officer and civilian victim, the suspect was taken into custody.
Indianapolis EMS transported Officer Leath to Eskenazi Hospital, and the second female victim to Methodist Hospital. Despite the best life-saving efforts of the medical personnel involved, doctors at Eskenazi Hospital pronounced Officer Leath deceased. The second victim is in stable condition.
This investigation is being handled by the IMPD Critical Incident Response Team. The suspect was arrested and preliminarily charged with Murder and Attempted Murder. The Marion County Prosecutor will review the case and make a final charging decision.

The Friday police procession moved Leath from the downtown coroner’s office to Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery.

Keilan Laws stopped what he was doing Friday to pay respects as Leath’s procession passed by.

“Out of honor and respect. You’ve got to give respect to the people that passed. She protected our country, so I wanted to give my respect back,” Laws told News 8’s David Williams.

Support Leath poured in on social media. On WISH-TV’s Facebook page, hundreds of comments were left to memorialize her:

  • One person posted, “I’ll always remember you, big cuz.”
  • Another said, “We know her! She was here twice. She was a good lady.”
  • A different person said, “I’ve met her. Prayers to her family and friends.”

“I give prayers out to her family, her loved ones and friends.” Laws explained. 

On Twitter, messages of love came from across the country.

The United States Secret Service tweeted: “The Indianapolis Field Office and the entire Secret Service sends our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of fallen
@IMPDnews Officer Breann Leath.”

The Williamson County Sheriff in Austin, Texas, tweeted: “Another HERO gone to soon. Our prayers for Officer Leath’s family and the Indianapolis Metro PD.”

The Takoma Park, Maryland, police department tweeted: “Our thoughts and prayers are with family, friends and colleagues of Officer Breann Leath”

Also Friday morning, Chicago Police tweeted: “Officer Leath was an incredible woman, an example of what every Police Officer should aspire to be.”

“She is the example of the type of officer we want in this department,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.

Taylor announced Leath’s passing around 5:15 p.m. Thursday outside of Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

The death in the line of duty was the first for IMPD since July 5, 2014. Officer Perry Renn was shot and killed when responding to a report of shots fired near the intersection of East 34th Street and Forest Manor Avenue, according to The Officer Down Memorial Page.

Leath is the 62nd line-of-duty death of an Indianapolis police officer. She had been with IMPD for 2-1/2 years.

Facebook post from IMPD East District about Leath in February 2019 said she was a graduate of the department’s 16th recruit class.

“Officer Leath said that she grew up in a law enforcement family so becoming a Police Officer felt like a natural choice for a career. Her Dad is a Deputy Sheriff and her Mother is Control Operator with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office,” the Facebook post said.

Many landmarks across Indianapolis were already scheduled going blue Thursday night as part of a nationwide movement called Light It Blue. But, the event took on a very different meaning and a very somber tone after the Leath’s death hours earlier. On Monument Circle, dozens of emergency vehicles with their lights flashing were surrounded by blue spotlights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

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