Crime Watch 8

Special prosecutor appointed to investigate fatal shooting involving Speedway police

DeAire Gray in a December 2019 mugshot. (Provided Photo/Wayne Township Police Department)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — A special prosecutor has been assigned to the case of the fatal Speedway police shooting of an accused arsonist in February after the coroner said the suspect died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Attorney Chris Gaal was appointed to investigate the police shooting, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Monday. Gaal is a former Monroe County prosecutor.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Speedway Police Department said all inquiries about the investigation are being directed to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, where another spokesman said it’s forwarding questions to the special prosecutor. Gaal told News 8 he cannot comment on the investigation.

According to a Speedway police spokesperson at the scene, around 11:30 p.m. Feb. 12, officers in the 5900 block of West 25th Street came upon a man who ran from officers. Police chased him on foot, and he displayed a gun, according to the police department. One officer fired his weapon, striking the man. He was taken to Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital with injuries that police said were not considered to be life-threatening. No officers were injured. The officer who fired his weapon, who has not been identified by Speedway police, was placed on administrative leave, the department said.

The prosecutor’s office on Monday confirmed that De’Aire Gray, 28, was the man shot Feb. 12 by a Speedway police officer.

According to the Marion County Coroner’s Office, Gray died Feb. 21 from multiple gunshot wounds sustained on Feb. 12.

The prosecutor’s office also confirmed that Gray was facing 17 felony counts of arson. Gray was charged in December 2019 after Wayne Township fire investigators worked with other fire departments, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to arrest Gray.

Their investigation began on Sept. 17, 2019, when a person was seen lighting a fire on Ironton Street as firefighters put out a different fire on Lyons Avenue in the Mars Hill neighborhood. Investigators obtained video of a person matching the description of that person at eight fires over three months following the incident on Ironton. Those fires involved both vacant and occupied homes.

Video provided by the fire department appeared to show Gray pouring gasoline more than 500 feet down the middle of a street in September 2019 and lighting it on fire. According to police, he set the same house on fire twice on that street over the course of a month, the blaze so hot it burned through the floor and walls.

Police estimated Gray caused $100,000 in damage to homes. Investigators said no one was hurt in those fires but that Gray could have been linked to up to 20 fires.

The Speedway Police Department has not identified the officer who fired shots at Gray. The department has also not said if the officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting.

Gray’s obituary said he’d been battling schizophrenia since his diagnosis in 2015. A viewing and celebration of life for Gray happened Saturday at Martindale Avenue Church in Indianapolis. Gray, a Gary native, was a 2010 graduate of the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy in Gary. He is survived by a daughter, his mother, a sister, two brothers and additional relatives.