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Neighbor: Fatal Indianapolis police shooting involved man in ‘mental health crisis’

New details surrounding deadly shooting by IMPD

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — People who live in the neighborhood where Indianapolis police fatally shot a man on Sunday night say he had lived with his mother for the past couple of years.

Police say they had been to the house at least three times earlier.

Just before 7 p.m. Sunday, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were asked to carry out a welfare check at the 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.

Kendall Gilbert, 40, on Sunday night taunted police with a machete and a 6-foot wooden stick.

One neighbor, Rachelle Clark, told I-Team 8 on Monday, “He spoke of being a representative for his people, claiming about the murders and killings and murders of his people that the police had committed, and taunting them, and he kept saying, ‘Make war with me.’”

Witnesses and neighbors told I-Team 8 that Gilbert stood in the home’s front yard armed with a machete and yelled at police for hours. Clark’s son took cellphone video. Clark said, from her vantage point, police tried for hours to negotiate with Gilbert, but he stood his ground.

“A man that was clearly in the middle of a mental health crisis, shouting, taunting law,” Clark said.  

She says, in addition to the machete, Gilbert had a knife that he took out a couple times to wave at police.

For hours, he stood in his yard and yelled.

Clark and other neighbors thought he would eventually wear out, and police would take him into custody,

She said, “And he kept taunting them. He kept hurling insults at them, calling them liars and Nazis and inviting them to pull the trigger.” 

But, that didn’t happen.

Neighbors told I-Team that several police officers had special bean bag shot guns and air rifles. The ends of the barrel are painted differently than a regular police rifle.

As the hours clicked away more and more police showed up. Clark thought they would use stun guns and just overwhelm him.

Clark said, “But, from our point of view, we watched this thing go on for hours. We watched him insulting, taunting even asking, and so it seems very sad it was almost clear that he was maybe trying to have to commit suicide by cop.” 

Police say that Gilbert ran toward police with his machete. Witnesses told I-Team 8 they could hear the slightly muffled sound from the bean bag shot guns followed by the sound a real firearm. 

“If they had hit him, taken him down with the nonlethal, he could have been in a facility getting the help he clearly needed,” Clark said. 

I-Team 8 asked Democrat Mayor Hogsett’s office if it planned to expand mental health crisis units across the city. The office sent a statement.

“Our thoughts go out to all involved in yesterday’s incident.

“Over the past several years, the City of Indianapolis has greatly expanded the number of emergency mental health resources to those who need them.

“Currently, Mobile Crisis Assistance Teams (MCAT) operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Those teams are comprised of a clinician and an IMPD officer. They are present in every IMPD district.

“Clinician-Led Community Response Teams, comprised of a clinician and a peer specialist, are currently active in Downtown District from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days per week. Mayor Hogsett’s proposed 2024 budget includes an expansion of the clinician-led teams to East District. As the teams reach budgeted staffing, they will shift to 24-hour operations.

“Residents can also use the Assessment and Intervention Center, which is located on the Community Justice Campus. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering support for those experiencing mental health and substance abuse crises. Free rides to and from the AIC are available. Call at (317) 327-8733.

“We will continue to engage with the community to shape and grow efforts around mental health response.”

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