Grand jury requested in Norfolk Southern officer shooting in May

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("Railroad Crossing" by Brad Clinesmith, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office has requested a grand jury to investigate a shooting that involved a Norfolk Southern police officer.

It happened back in May. The shooting stemmed from a failed traffic stop, where the person who was shot drove off.

“At that point in time, these officers were attempting to block that vehicle from getting back out into the public roadways,” Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker said in a press conference in May. “One of the officers engaged in discharging his service weapon at the driver of the vehicle.”

The juvenile was shot in the shoulder by a Norfolk Southern police officer who used to work for the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. Despite being injured, Becker says the juvenile tried to get out of the vehicle, but was restrained by officers. He was still in the hospital as of Tuesday morning, but was expected to be released by Tuesday afternoon. When he’s released, he’s expected to be arrested by Indiana State Police, and his case is expected to start in juvenile court.

Indiana State Police is also investigating the circumstances that led to the shooting. Becker says “they are nowhere near” the point of determining whether the shooting was justified.

The Norfolk Southern Railroad has maintained a police force since before the Southern Railway and Norfolk & Southern Railway formed in the late 1800s. Officers have full police powers in Indiana, are authorized to carry weapons, and their jurisdiction crosses state lines, meaning it has some federal authority. Becker says the railroad officer got involved because the pursuit passed near the railway.

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