||| John Roman | Dreamstime.com |||
A grand jury announced their decision Thursday that a Norfolk Southern police officer who shot a 13-year-old during a pursuit will not be charged with the shooting.
The pursuit took place back in May when the teen led police on a chase that eventually ended in the front yard of a family's home. During the chase, Special Agent Kyle Perry fired seven shots striking the teen in the shoulder once.
Perry says the teen accelerated backward and almost hit him prompting him to fire on the car. After the teen was arrested, police discovered the vehicle had been stolen from a local body shop.
The teen had been reported as a runaway by his parents and had apparently been wandering for hours after an argument. The teen was charged and adjudicated as a delinquent child in the Elkhart Circuit Court Juvenile Division.
Charges include auto theft, fleeing police, and reckless driving. He was then returned to his mother in Los Angeles, California where he will carry out his sentence under the supervision of the California Court system.
A prosecutor from Elkhart County asked a grand jury to look into the shooting earlier this month and they determined the officer did not commit a crime.
An official statement from Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Elaine Becker said:
"The Elkhart County Grand Jury investigating the shooting of a juvenile male on May 7, 2017, returned a verdict of “No Bill” yesterday afternoon, declining to subject Special Agent Kyle Perry to any criminal charges for his actions in injuring the juvenile. Perry, a police officer employed by the Norfolk Southern Police Department, used deadly force while assisting another officer in trying to stop the driver of a car that had been fleeing from police. After driving through a private yard and being partially blocked in, the driver of the suspect car accelerated backward, almost striking Agent Perry, at which time he fired seven (7) shots at the driver. The driver was hit in the shoulder by one of the shots, all other shots hit areas within the car and were later recovered. The driver was treated and released after an overnight stay in the hospital.
The circumstances which led to police trying to stop the driver involved an Elkhart Police officer observing the car pull out of an industrial area without its headlights activated shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, 2017. The car sped south, weaving from lane to lane and traveling at excessive speeds, at which time the initial officer activated his emergency lights and sirens and attempted to perform a traffic stop. However, the driver of the suspect car continued to flee for approximately two (2) miles, disregarded stop signs, and continued traveling at excessive speeds along County Road 3, County Road 118, County Road 22, County Road 100, and across County Road 20 where it entered a private driveway and yard area before entering County Road 20 again where it briefly stopped due to police presence.
Agent Perry had been monitoring the police radio system and was aware the pursuit was approaching his location. As there were no other officers in the general area, Agent Perry, with his emergency lights and sirens activated, observed the suspect vehicle traveling across County Road 20 in front of him and into the private yard, and followed in an attempt to assist in the stop. When the suspect vehicle did stop, Agent Perry got out of his vehicle to attempt to secure the driver of the suspect vehicle. However, the driver of the suspect vehicle engaged the reverse gear and accelerated backward into the area where Agent Perry was located. Agent Perry used deadly force as he believed he was in danger of imminent serious bodily injury or death.
The later investigation documented that the suspect vehicle had been stolen from a local body shop by the driver, who was a thirteen (13) year old male that had been wandering for hours after arguing with his guardians and being reported as a runaway. The juvenile male was charged and adjudicated as a delinquent child in the Elkhart Circuit Court – Juvenile Division for auto theft, fleeing police, and reckless driving, and was returned to his mother in Los Angeles, California, to carry out the terms of his sentence under the supervision of the California Court system."
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