CMHU clears officers in fatal shooting of suspect on Lilac Road

The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit has completed its investigation into the fatal shooting of Rodney Ross on Lilac Road and determined the officer’s actions were justifiable homicide.

No criminal charges will be filed in connection with Ross’ death.

On October 13, officers with the warrants division went to a home on Lilac Road to attempt to take Ross into custody on a warrant from Elkhart County, reports said.

When they arrived at the home, Ross, who was hiding in a lean-to off the back of the garage, began shooting at the officers, reports said.

Two officers, St. Joseph County Police Cpl. Nate Bachman and Cpl. Craig Swanson, returned fire as Ross ran into heavy brush and trees and fired towards officers, reports said.

Investigators said there was no evidence anyone was struck during this shooting.

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including Mishawaka Police, South Bend Police, Indiana State Police, ATF, US Marshals, the FBI and Pokagon Tribal Police arrived and began assisting in the search for Ross, reports said.

Later in the day, Ross fired 3 shots at officers and they returned fire. During this incident, Ross shot Pokagon Tribal Police Officer Joseph Kasznia and St. Joseph County Police K9 Luna, reports said.

Officers returned fire and Ross was killed.

The investigation revealed Kasznia fired two rounds, St. Joseph County Police Sergeant Randy Rodriguez fired 5 rounds and St. Joseph County Police Sergeant Matt Parmalee fired 3 rounds.

The shot fired from Rodriguez’s gun was the fatal round. Ross died at the scene.

After reviewing witness statements, physical evidence, digital evidence, Medical evidence and forensic evidence, CMHU determined Ross died as a result of his own actions and that officers used force necessary to prevent injury or death to another, reports said. The shooting was deemed justified.

St. Joseph County Police are also conducting an internal investigative review of officers’ compliance with department policies and procedures.

Share this article: