Two Indiana police officers – one in Indianapolis and the other in Gary – were shot to death over the weekend.
Perry Renn, 51, a street patrol officer in Indianapolis for more than 20 years, died Saturday night after responding with other officers to a report of shots fired.
Major Davis Jr., 25, was walking away when witnesses say he opened fire on officers, police said. Officers returned fire and struck Davis, who was in critical condition Sunday after surgery. He faced a preliminary charge of murder.
Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield of the Gary police force was found shot to death Sunday in his patrol car, and a person of interest was taken into custody, authorities said.
Westerfield was found dead about 5:45 a.m. after a person called police and reported an officer bleeding in his car, police spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King told The Associated Press.
Westerfield, whose 47th birthday was Sunday, was pronounced dead at the scene in a residential area about a block south of Roosevelt High School, officers said.
Police Chief Wade Ingram Jr. told the Post-Tribune that investigators took the person of interest into custody about 3 p.m. Sunday. No charges were announced, and a motive for the shooting wasn’t immediately clear.
Ingram said Westerfield had responded to a call in the area where he was found dead a few hours earlier.
It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the two Indiana police officers killed in the line of duty in the last 24 hours, Gov. Mike Pence said Sunday in a statement.
Renn was awarded the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Medal of Bravery in 2003 and received a letter of commendation for his efforts during the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed seven people, police spokesman Lt. Chris Bailey said.
This is a sad day for the IMPD family and the community as a whole, IMPD Chief Rick Hite said in a statement. Please keep Officer Renn’s family in your prayers. We will remain vigilant as we continue to take care of one another and the city in the days and weeks to come.
Davis, the suspect in Renn’s shooting, has a conviction for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from a 2008 arrest.
His father, Major Davis Sr., died in police custody at age 35 in May 2003 – the day before his son’s 14th birthday. The elder Davis had been arrested for public intoxication and struggled with officers. An autopsy concluded he died of a heart attack.
Bailey said Renn was the second officer to arrive in a north-side neighborhood and that Davis had been obviously upset when he approached the first officer on the scene.
She said Davis refused to follow orders to show his hands and walked away from the officer into a small yard.
Officer Renn arrived and the officers saw Davis with an assault rifle in his hand. The officers asked for additional back-up, Bailey said in a news release. As a third officer was getting out of his patrol car, several shots were heard.
By the time the third officer made it to the alley both Officer Renn and the suspect were down. Witnesses observed Davis fire shots at the officers and the officers return fire.
Bill Owensby, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, told WTHR-TV that Renn was wearing a protective vest but the fatal shot pierced the vest.
Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said Renn was the eighth police officer shot during the past 18 months.
In Lakewood, Colorado, a few miles west of downtown Denver, a man shot and wounded two police officers Saturday night when they went to his home to check on his welfare, authorities said.
The injured female and male officers returned fire, wounding the gunman, and he was arrested. All three were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.