Jennings County prosecutor: Deputy justified in shooting that killed convicted man
NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WISH) — Deputy Cody Low was justified in the shooting that led to the death of a man on the run after being prosecuted, the Jennings County prosecutor says in a ruling shared Tuesday by Indiana State Police.
Devin Lark, 29, died after he was shot in the 4000 block of West County Road 175 North. Police had been sent about 2:30 p.m. Feb. 3 to the rural area with homes and outbuildings that’s about a mile west of North Vernon. That’s about a 90-minute drive southeast of downtown Indianapolis.
Dow is a deputy with the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office.
In the ruling, Prosecutor Brian J. Belding wrote, “This incident escalated immediately when Devin Lark saw law enforcement entering the property and began to flee. It was only 21 seconds from the time Deputy Low exited his patrol vehicle until he discharged his firearm. The information that Deputy Low had at the time was that he may be armed, and had made statements that he was “not going down without a fight.” It turned out that Devin Lark did have a firearm. Less lethal force was not an option due to the close proximately, Devin Lark’s decision possess a firearm, and his refusal to obey Deputy Low’s commands. Had Deputy Low hesitated in his decision, he would have put himself in danger of serious bodily injury or death, his K-9, and other law enforcement that were nearby.”
The prosecutor’s ruling says Lark on Jan. 30 had requested the delay of a criminal trial against him in Jennings Circuit Court. That request was denied. The trial began without Lark, and a jury on Feb. 2 found him guilty of three counts of burglary, a count of auto theft, a count of theft, and two counts of battery, the ruling says. The judge issued an arrest warrant for Lark after the conviction.
Lark also had an outstanding warrant from Clark Circuit Court 2 in Jeffersonville on several drug-related charges, the prosecutor’s ruling says.
A special weapons and tactics team was called to arrest Lark on Feb. 3, Indiana State Police has previously said in a news release. When police arrived, they say Lark fled on foot. Police ran after Lark, and he pulled out a handgun and refused to drop it, causing the deputy to fire a single shot at Lark. Lark was taken to a hospital, where he died.
The prosecutor described in his ruling what bodycams from police recorded in the pursuit and shooting of Lark.
No officers were injured in the incident. The Jennings County sheriff had requested the Indiana State Police investigate the shooting.