Indianapolis, IN – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer involved in a deadly shootout with a gunman who tried to kill him in May will not face criminal charges, a grand jury decided on Tuesday.
Protesters have demanded that IMPD Officer Dejoure Mercer be sent to prison for murder for returning fire after 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed shot at him on May 6, The Indianapolis Star reported at the time.
Special Prosecutor Rosemary Khoury announced on Tuesday that the grand jury determined there was not sufficient probable cause to charge Officer Mercer for Reed’s death, according to The Indianapolis Star.
“This has not been an easy task and it’s been a very heavy burden,” Khoury said during the announcement.
She tearfully explained that she is the mother of two black sons.
“I am also very empathetic toward Officer Mercer. I know that had to be a difficult position to be in,” Khoury told the paper. “No one wins.”
According to the Indiana State Police (ISP), evidence in Reed’s phone indicated he was involved in two drive-by shootings prior to the gun battle with Officer Mercer, The Indianapolis Star reported.
Cartridges collected by police in those cases matched the gun Reed fired at Officer Mercer, the ISP said.
According to ISP Lieutenant Jeffrey Hearon, Reed had stolen the firearm from a Texas pawn shop.
The incident began shortly before 6 p.m. on May 6, when IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams spotted someone in a gray Toyota Corolla driving recklessly on Interstate 65, according to The Washington Post.
The suspect, later identified by his family as Reed, was traveling “at a high rate of speed and disobeying all traffic signals,” and nearly slammed into other vehicles as he exited the interstate, police said.
Deputy Chief Adams, who was in an unmarked vehicle, attempted to stop the reckless driver and radioed for additional assistance, The Indianapolis Star reported.
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, who happened to be traveling behind Deputy Chief Adams in a second unmarked vehicle, joined the pursuit as Reed sped away at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
When officers in marked patrol vehicles arrived in the area, Chief Taylor and Deputy Chief Adams turned the chase over to them – a move that is standard procedure for officers in unmarked vehicles, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Meanwhile, a shirtless Reed began streaming the chase on Facebook Live under the title, “High speed chase lol,” according to The Washington Post.
“You gotta look,” he told the thousands of viewers who tuned in as he pointed the camera at the patrol vehicle following behind him, according to The Indianapolis Star. “It’s just one right now.”
“Almost lost him, y’all!” he announced a moment later. “Almost got rid of his -ss!”
An IMPD sergeant terminated the chase just minutes later due to the suspect’s dangerous speeds and recklessness, The Indianapolis Star reported.
“I’m not going to jail today!” Reed yelled in the video.
A short while later, an IMPD officer spotted Reed driving eastbound on 62nd Street, The Indianapolis Star reported.
“I’m gonna park this motherf–ker!” Reed squealed in the video. “Somebody come get my stupid -ss! I’m on 62nd and Michigan, I just parked this mother–ker imma go! Please come get me!”
Reed then jumped out of the vehicle and took off running.
The officer chased the suspect on foot for a moment before he and Reed got into a confrontation, IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said, according to The Indianapolis Star.
The officer also deployed his Taser at some point during the encounter, according to The Washington Post.
“Stop! Stop!” the officer ordered in the video.
“F–k you!” Reed yelled back.
The suspect then shot at the officer, who returned fire, WTHR reported.
Reed yelled out and appeared to collapse to the ground with his cell phone pointed up at the sky as the livestream continued.
More than 16,000 people had tuned in to watch the video by that time, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Officers removed the gun from Reed’s hand after the shootout so emergency medical technicians could assist him, Lt. Hearon said, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Reed was pronounced dead at the scene, The Washington Post reported.
Lt. Hearon said Reed fired two shots during the encounter, but said it was unclear who fired first, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Reed’s family and their attorneys have denied allegations that Reed fired the gun at all.
The family has also filed a lawsuit against four members of the IMPD, alleging the department failed to properly discipline, supervise, and train several officers who were involved in the series of events that preceded the fatal shooting, The Indianapolis Star reported.