INDIANAPOLIS – The "only living witness" to the fatal officer-involved shooting of Aaron Bailey last week gave her account of events in an exclusive interview with RTV6 Thursday night.
Shiwanda Ward, the passenger inside the vehicle when Bailey was shot multiple times by two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers, said police thought he was reaching for a pistol, but he was unarmed.
"The police officers shot and killed him for no apparent reason," Ward said. "Just because the airbags hit him in the face. They thought he was reaching for a pistol, which he was not."
No weapon was found inside the vehicle.
The shooting happened June 29 around 1:45 a.m. when Bailey, the driver, and Ward were pulled over by police for a traffic violation near the intersection of Burdsal Parkway and Riverside Drive.
After a 9-minute traffic stop, Bailey sped from the scene and crashed into a tree near the intersection of 23rd Street and Aqueduct Street.
An altercation occurred after that crash and the two officers fired "multiple" rounds at the vehicle, hitting Bailey. He was taken to the hospital where he later died. IMPD has not been able to provide further details of what led to the shots being fired, pending an ongoing investigation into what happened.
“I have his shirt on…my best friend,” said Ward. “I’m hurt right now and I wish everybody that is out here with him…I’m here for you.”
Ward was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia at the scene of Bailey's shooting.
She bonded out and a few days later, Ward was arrested again, accused of stabbing a man with a screwdriver.
Officers said Ward told them the victim had tried to pour gasoline on her so she stabbed him with the screwdriver.
“Yeah, I shanked him,” she stated to police.
IMPD said the department has no additional comments on Ward's statements beyond what has already been said publicly. They told RTV6 that they would welcome the opportunity to interview Ward again if she has additional narrative not included in their ongoing investigation.
IMPD Chief Bryan Roach called Ward the "only living witness" to the incident last week.
Monday night IMPD Chief Bryan Roach released a video statement detailing his outlook since the shooting death. He said two investigations into the incident are underway and the department is looking into best practices on use of force.
"We are exploring outside independent investigation reviews of officer-involved shootings and how we investigate those," he said. “We are also committed to review IMPD training including but not limited to use of force, mental illness and implicit bias."
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