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Sheriff investigating after St. John officer opens fire on off-duty Hammond officer’s vehicle

ST. JOHN, Ind. (WISH) — The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a St. John Police Department officer fired shots at a vehicle being driven by an off-duty Hammond Police Department officer.

According to St. John police, the officer was investigating an abandoned vehicle near 93rd and Cline avenues around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. He was standing on the shoulder near a ditch with a flashlight.

“The officer reported he observed a vehicle traveling toward him nearly striking him,” the St. John Police Department said in a statement posted to social media. “Fearing for his life, the officer fired several shots at the vehicle which continued to travel away from the scene.”

The St. John officer then caught up to that vehicle and took the driver into custody. Information from the St. John Police Department did not say what charges, if any, the driver was facing.

The driver turned out to be a Hammond Police Department officer who was off-duty and in his personal vehicle as he was headed home. He was uninjured from the shooting but his vehicle was struck by gunfire.

Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott said the passenger’s side seat was pierced by a bullet. The driver was uninjured.

“The off-duty Hammond Officer, on his way to his personal residence in St. John, maintains he did nothing wrong, and maneuvered his vehicle to the other side of the road to give space to an ongoing traffic stop,” McDermott said in a Facebook post. “Police officers, like the St. John officer who decided to use deadly force in this case, are a danger to society and don’t deserve to wear the badge of #Hoosier Law Enforcement.”

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office also posted on social media, saying “Because this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot confirm any details or release any information at this time.”

The St. John officer has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.