So-called burglar killed by police was homeless man breaking into dead brother's home

Man had gathered brother's hats, shaving kit

INDIANAPOLIS - A so-called burglar who was shot and killed by police was actually a homeless man breaking into the home of his deceased brother.

Lenon Henry, 52, struggled with homelessness, alcoholism and the police, who had 48 reported contacts with him in the past nine years.

Henry was killed the evening of Dec. 10 after his sister-in-law called 911 after returning home to find the screen at the rear of her northeast side home cut and the window broken.

Officers found Henry in the basement, hiding under a coat.

Investigators say he refused at least 10 commands by officers to surrender, and he was shot after he made a sudden grab for the waistband of his pants.

Police said the fact that Henry was unarmed doesn't change the circumstances leading up to the shooting.

"He was in the process of committing a felony," said Sgt. Linda Jackson, with Metro police. "We didn't know who he was, what he's got on him. We knew there were guns in the house and he very well could have had one on him."

In the month leading up to Henry's death, his mother and brother both died.

When police recovered Henry's body in the basement, he had a bag with his brother's Colts hats and his brother's shaving equipment, and he had his brother's obituary in his pocket.

Henry had been in that house so many times before. His sister-in-law, who declined an interview, said she often cooked meals for him, gave him a bed to sleep in, gave him a place to turn when he needed help.

Henry also used to turn to the organization The Pourhouse .

"We had always known him to be very pleasant and kind," said Andrea DeMink, with The PourHouse Inc. "And we knew that he was working with one of the county courts to try to get into treatment, they were looking for funding for him. He was right at that point where he was looking to make a change."

DeMink said the news of Henry's death was difficult to hear.
"It's a difficult one. It's really touching me because we knew him as a friend, and I know it was hard for him. And it's really sad for me to hear," DeMink said.

As protocol dictates, officers remain on administrative duty, and a grand jury will look into the circumstances of the shooting.

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