Justified shooting: Officer cleared of any wrongdoing

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GREENFIELD — Now that Greenfield Police Department officer Jarrod Davis has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a shooting this summer that left an Indianapolis man dead, he is still a few weeks away from heading back to work, Chief Brian Hartman said.

On Friday, officials from the Indiana State Police released information noting Davis was justified in his use of deadly force in a July 31 shooting where Darrin Baker, 56, Indianapolis was shot twice and died a short time later despite measures to save his life, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.

In a press release, Eaton noted the matter was thoroughly investigated by the ISP, and the prosecutor’s office reviewed the report, other relevant records and media concerning the event before making a determination.

“There is no need to continue this investigation,” Eaton said. “It is unfortunate that a life was lost. The evidence clearly indicates that Mr. Baker was in the process of taking a life when he was stopped by a police officer.”

Hartman told the Daily Reporter he gave Davis the news Friday afternoon via a phone call and that it was a relief to pass on the results of the investigation even though they felt all along Davis was involved in a justified shooting.

“Just in talking with Jarrod and in the conversations I’d had with him before, Jarrod felt he had done the right thing,” Hartman said. “Knowing the training our officers get, I had no doubt Jarrod had done the right thing, but we still had to get that box checked and get the investigation done and over.”

Hartman noted it was a “big relief” for Davis to hear the news just as it was for the other officers on the scene and in the department.

“All our officers were worried about our officer as was the command staff, but now we can move past this and continue helping our officers deal with what they’re going through because of this,” Hartman said.

The findings, Hartman said, should let the community know they have a police department that is going to show up and do what needs to be done and is going to do it the right way.

On the morning of July 31, officers were called to the Keystone Subdivision. They determined shots had been fired and the victim had been forcibly removed from their vehicle and forced inside a residence.

Officers entered the residence, clearly announcing their presence. The victim responded clearly and repeatedly, “He has a gun,” officials from the ISP said in a press release.

Officers found Baker straddling his victim, who was lying on the ground. Baker’s arms were positioned so that the firearm was near the face, head and upper torso of the victim, officials said in the release.

Despite being told loudly and clearly several times to drop the gun, Baker refused to do so. Officer Davis fired two shots from his department-issued carbine rifle with both shots hitting Baker, who collapsed upon the ground.

Baker was in possession of a gun and was unresponsive. First aid was immediately rendered and an ambulance was called. However, Baker was pronounced dead a short time later.

The investigation revealed the gun Baker had was fired three times at the residence. The first shot shattered the driver’s side window glass in their vehicle and the other two shots were fired inside the home. One was into the ground near the victim’s head and the other into the wall behind where the struggle occurred.

“All the evidence points to the fact that Baker intended to kill his victim and was in fact attempting to do so when officers intervened,” Eaton said.

In their investigation Hartman was told by officials from the ISP how impressed they were with how quickly GPD officers immediately tried to save Baker’s life after he was shot.

“They told us, officers around the country ought to try and emulate our officer’s actions,” Hartman said. “Our officers did not hesitate.”

Davis will continue to go to counseling and be sent for a public medical safety screen before he is released to go back on duty.

“We think he’ll be back in a couple of weeks,” Hartman said.

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