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Man with machete shot, killed by Indianapolis police

Man with machete shot and killed by Indianapolis police

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A man who approached officers with a machete in his hand during a standoff died after being shot by a member of the Indianapolis SWAT team, police said.

Just before 7 p.m. Sunday, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were asked to carry out a welfare check at a home in the 4500 block of Woodland Drive. That’s a residential area near 46th Street and Moller Road on the city’s west side.

Officers had been at the home several times since Friday afternoon when the man’s relatives asked for a welfare check because he was “sending out strange messages to family,” IMPD said in a release.

IMPD says officers were called back to the house early Saturday morning, but they “believed he was not a danger to others,” and left after he refused to open his bedroom door.

Police returned to the house around 8:30 p.m. Saturday after relatives called 911 and said he was threatening to decapitate them. The man was still barricaded inside his room, according to IMPD.

Just before 5:30 p.m. Sunday, police received a call from the same address from a family member saying her brother was “hallucinating and stated he would burn the house down,” IMPD said in a statement. The family member was told to leave the residence.

Around 6:45 p.m. Sunday, a woman at the home pushed her medical button stating someone was trying to kill her.

“When officers responded to the scene, they found the adult male outside near the home’s front door. As officers approached, they observed the male to have a machete and was making threats toward officers,” IMPD said.

Indianapolis SWAT officers and crisis negotiators were called to the home on Woodland Drive. Multiple negotiators spoke with the man, but “were not able to have any meaningful conversation,” according to IMPD.

Just after 9 p.m., members of the SWAT team tried to get the man to surrender using bean bag rounds, a taser, and pepper balls. IMPD says this was an attempt to take the man into custody “without using deadly force.”

“Officers reported the male moved towards officers with the machete in his hand and physically made contact with a ballistics shield an officer was holding.  One member of the SWAT team discharged his firearm, striking the male at least once,” IMPD said in a release.

The man was transported to Eskenazi Hospital, where he died. He was identified Monday as 40-year-old Kendall Gilbert.

Detectives found a large machete and a knife at the scene.

IMPD Public Information Officer Lt. Shane Foley called the standoff and shooting a “tragic situation.”

“Officers had responded to this location multiple times and had worked with the family to provide resources for an individual facing a severe mental health crisis. Despite these efforts, the situation escalated, leaving officers with limited options,” Lt. Foley said Sunday night.

Pike Township Trustee Annette Johnson told News 8 that community members are growing more concerned about access to mental health care.

“I know that more and more mental illness is popping up, and it’s arising in communities because of various needs. There’s a need for mental health facilities to be, you know, in our communities. That’s one of the things we’re lacking, so I think when that happens and you’re dealing with that, you’re gonna have these types of situations,” Johnson.

IMPD Internal Affairs and the IMPD Critical Incident Response Team and are conducting separate investigations into the shooting. Investigators will also review video from body-worn cameras.

Once the criminal investigation reaches a conclusion, the civilian-led Use of Force Review Board will conduct a hearing to review the incident.

The officer who fired his gun has been placed on administrative leave, as is standard procedure after a police shooting.

Anyone with information should contact Detective Erika Jones at the IMPD Homicide Office by calling 317-327-3475. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS.

 machete IMPD says a man wielded while approaching officers before being fatally shot on Aug. 27, 2023. (Provided Photo/IMPD)
A machete IMPD says a man wielded while approaching officers before being fatally shot on Aug. 27, 2023. (Provided Photo/IMPD)

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