There will be no grand jury and no charges against Goshen Police officers who responded to 19-year-old Michael Alcaraz’s terrorizing of Goshen residents on April 5.
That word from Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker, who noted during a press conference Tuesday that Alcarez had not only fired multiple gunshots at the three officers who responded, but also intended to do harm to innocent civilians during attempted carjackings.
Alcaraz was armed with a shotgun when he tried to abduct or carjack at least three people at the BP gas station on Lincolnway East and Kercher. Becker tells the story of the last person he tried to terrorize.
“She pulled into the BP and was able to get out of the vehicle. He confronted her with a shotgun and demanded her keys. Bless her heart, she’s got some sass because she told him where he can shove it and then she ran into the BP, where they were able to keep her safe as he went around pounding on windows.”
He eventually drove off, confronted a woman in the roadway at the intersection, and fired a shotgun blast.
When Goshen officers arrived, Alcaraz then took off in his Dodge Durango, ducked through a couple streets, eventually went through the Lippert Components campus and then back onto Lincolnway East and led officers on a chase to the Double D’s Hometown Bar and Grille, where the chase ended and the standoff began.
Becker says Alcaraz fired multiple shotgun blasts at officers. Officers returned fire, eventually hitting Alcaraz. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
During the shootout, Sgt. Gregory Smith accidentally fired a shot at an innocent bystander, thinking he was Alvarez. The victim was hit in the back of his shoulder and remains in the hospital.
“As he rounded the building, (he was) believing in his mind ‘I’m going to engage the shooter and I’m going to stop him in order to protect my community.’ And he fired two shots, unfortunately striking a citizen, but also working to protect us. Accordingly, under the laws of the state of Indiana and under the ethical rules that bind me as well, I’m not going to file criminal charges for that circumstance, either.”
So why did Alcaraz do it? Becker did say Alcarez’s toxicology came back positive for marijuana, and that he was abusing inhalants. But as for the motive for acting out? Becker says we’ll never truly know.
“We know that he had a shotgun. We know that he was not working at the time. We know that there had been some changes in his behavior that one family member indicated was disturbing. But we don’t know why. Other members of his family say ‘he was fine,’ ‘he was normal,’ ‘there was no issue.’ We will never know what provoked it. What we do know is that it was inexcusable. We cannot permit this kind of violence in our community, and we certainly cannot condone it.”
Regardless, Becker feels this was a tragedy.
“It is a tragedy. Members of our community not only were injured, but one lost his life. I cannot answer why. I absolutely cannot answer why.”