FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Fort Wayne's third police shooting in as many months resulted in the death of one of two men who fled officers during a routine traffic stop, police said. The second man remained at large Sunday.
Police Chief Rusty York said the man who was shot pointed a gun at officers after being confronted during a foot chase Saturday afternoon on the city's southeast side. The Allen County Coroner's Office identified the man Sunday as Tavontae Jamar Haney, 19, of Fort Wayne.
"During the foot pursuit many directives were given to the suspect to stop, but those directives were ignored," York said in an email to The Journal Gazette. "The suspect refused to drop the handgun when ordered by the officers and directed the weapon towards them."
York said the two officers fired at Haney to protect themselves.
"I can say that I feel the officers reacted appropriately when confronted with a deadly force situation," York said.
Police spokesman Officer Jeremy Webb said a gun was found near Haney's body.
The incident began with a "routine traffic stop," Webb said, but he did not say what prompted the stop of the SUV. The driver also fled from officers and remained at large Sunday.
Webb said the officers involved in the shooting were placed on leave under department policy. Their names were being withheld.
Medics helped two women Saturday who became weak at the sight of the white sheet covering the victim's body. Crowds gathered along the police tape, which cordoned off an entire block.
The Fort Wayne Police Department and the Indiana State Police will investigate the shooting, and the Allen County Prosecutor's Office will decide whether the officers' use of force was justified, Webb said.
In the city's two previous fatal police shootings, two police snipers shot a man in a house March 20 after he killed a woman and took a 3-year-old boy hostage, and on Feb. 20, an officer shot an armed man suspected of robbing a drugstore.