Man shot, killed by Mishawaka officer during gunfire exchange ruled “justifiable homicide”

(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

No charges will be filed against the Mishawaka police officers who shot and killed a man during an exchange of gunfire.

It was back on Jan. 31 that police were called, repeatedly, about Michael Haas, 37, who was threatening others with a gun at the Village Green Mobile Home Park.

Officers arrived to confront Haas, who came to the door and started shooting at officers. Officer Garrett Schock returned fire.

Haas was hit and he died at the hospital.

The St. Joseph County Prosecutors Office issued the following statement:

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office has reviewed the South Bend Police Department’s investigation into the death of Michael Haas, 37, of Mishawaka, following an exchange of gunfire between Mr. Haas and the Mishawaka Police Department.

The Prosecutor’s Office has determined that the shooting of Mr. Haas was a justifiable homicide under I.C. 35-41-3-2(c). As a result, no criminal charges will be filed in connection with his death.

The South Bend Police Department agreed to conduct the investigation because officers
from the Mishawaka Police Department, the St. Joseph County Police Department and the
Indiana State Police were involved in the call that resulted in Mr. Haas being shot.

The investigation included officers photographing and gathering physical evidence from
the scene, witness statements and camera footage.

The investigation revealed that on Monday, January 31, law enforcement officers were twice dispatched to the Village Green mobile home park for reports of a man, later identified as Mr. Haas, threatening people with a firearm.

When officers arrived after receiving a dispatch concerning a man with a gun, they were
advised by witnesses that Mr. Haas had arrived at a neighbor’s home with a long gun and
threatened the occupants. Officers were further advised that Mr. Haas then left that home,
put the long gun in a vehicle, and returned to his own trailer home. Officers went to his
home, but Mr. Haas refused to come out or speak to the officers. The officers then left.

Dispatch logs show that eight neighbors then called 911 a second time, this time stating
that Mr. Haas was threatening others and had fired his long gun. Officers were redispatched, and officers from the Mishawaka Police Department, the St. Joseph County
Police Department and the Indiana State Police arrived in the area and took cover around
the home. Officers repeatedly asked Mr. Haas to exit the home without a weapon.

Witness statements and body camera footage depict Mr. Haas then exiting his home with a
long gun. Witnesses and body camera footage disclosed that Mr. Haas fired his weapon
and a Mishawaka police officer returned fire, striking Mr. Haas. Mr. Haas was taken to a
local hospital, where he later died. At his autopsy, a forensic pathologist concluded that the
cause of death was a gunshot wound.

Indiana Law specifies when a homicide may be legally justified. According to I.C. 35-41-
3-2(c), “A person is justified in using reasonable force against any other person to protect
the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent
use of unlawful force. However, a person: (1) is justified in using deadly force; and (2)
does not have a duty to retreat; if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person or the commission of a forcible felony. No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary.”

Since the Prosecutor’s Office cannot prove that the officer who shot Mr. Haas was not
acting in self-defense or defense of others due to a reasonable fear of imminent death or
significant bodily injury, charges will not be filed.

While the criminal investigation has concluded, the investigation and reports will be
referred to the Mishawaka Police Department to determine whether any policies,
procedures, or protocols were violated.

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