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Fort Wayne public safety director defends fatal police shooting

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne’s public safety director is calling the actions of two police officers “professional” after they shot a man who was holding a child hostage.

The incident started Thursday night, when police responded to a disturbance call in the 5300 block of Stony Run Lane. A woman got out of the situation, but police say when officers arrived, 36-year old Joseph Schroeder went inside a house armed with a knife. A 3-year old child was also inside.

The incident turned into a 6 hour-long standoff. The situation was virtually identical with a standoff with Schroeder at the house in July, but came to a different end.

“As the male subject became more and more erratic, and more and more belligerent, the child became more distressed,” Public Safety Director Rusty York said. York was on the scene Friday morning and talked with NewsChannel 15 about the incident.

York said officers realized the child was in danger and decided to make a move, entering the house.

“[The officers] encountered a male, armed with a knife, holding the child right in front of him. Both officers fired on the individual, taking extreme care not to put the child at risk,” York explained.

Schroeder was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but died a short time later.

Per standard protocol, the officers are on paid administrative leave and will meet with mental health professionals before returning to duty.

“These officers acted very professionally, saved the life of this child. It speaks to their professionalism and how highly they are trained,” York added.

The Indiana State Police will investigate the incident.