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Officer who shot suspect on Elwood will not face charges


ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The County Metro Homicide Unit and St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter held a press conference Thursday afternoon to give an update in the officer involved shooting on Elwood Tuesday evening.

South Bend Police Officer Samuel Chaput responded to a call in the 1300 block of Elwood Avenue to investigate reports of an unwanted person at 6:02 p.m.

When the officer approached the home at 1315 Elwood Avenue, 27-year-old Terrance Eppenger was sitting on the porch of the home.

As Chaput approached the home, Eppenger stood up, walked down the stairs and approached him.

Officer Chaput put his arm up and Eppenger began hitting him in the face, head and upper torso. When Eppenger got on top of Chaput  and he was unable to reach his taser, Chaput fired one shot in Eppenger's torso.

Officer Chaput began giving Eppenger medical aid and called for medics.

Both Eppenger and Chaput were taken to the hospital.

Chaput suffered cuts and bruises to his neck and arms. He was released from the hospital that evening.

Eppenger was in critical condition at the hospital as of Wednesday night.

During the press conference Cotter stated all of the evidence, including independent witnesses, indicate Officer Chaput's use of force was appropriate because he feared for his life and will not face charges.

Click here to read the full report about the investigation

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg issued the following statement about the investigation.

“We are extremely concerned any time we learn of a shooting involving a South Bend officer. I appreciate the thoroughness of the outside investigation, which determined that the officer used deadly force in self-defense and as a last resort. We also learned that the officer acted quickly to call in medical dispatch and administer on-site medical assistance. I am thankful that Officer Chaput has been released from the hospital and is recovering from his injuries, and hope for the recovery of Mr. Eppenger, who remains in critical condition. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident and their families.”

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