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CMHU, prosecutor reveal new details in deadly police shooting

James Dennin Sergeant Kevin Gibbons Ernesto Ramirez Rafeal Ramirez

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Investigators have released the name of the man who was shot and killed by South Bend Police during an incident Thursday afternoon at 2012 W. Western Avenue.

The man who was killed has been identified as Rafael Ramirez.

ABC57 News was exclusively invited into the apartment complex where the events occurred.

A tenant showed the room where Ramirez lived.  Outside its doors, people have placed flowers and a sign that said "RIP Rafael."

She told ABC57 News that Ramirez was a nice man, but that she knew the other tenants were scared for their safety on Thursday. 

The tenant verified the following information that was released during a press conference about the shooting.

The three officers who fired shots at Ramirez will not face any charges because the shooting was determined to be justified.

The County Metro Homicide Unit and St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office held a press conference Friday afternoon to release the names of those involved and to provide details about the incident.

South Bend officers James Dennin, Ernesto Ramirez and Sergeant Kevin Gibbons have been identified as the officers involved in the confrontation with Rafael Ramirez.

An audio recording shows the officers told Rafael to drop his knife multiple times.

"If the officers would have tried and flee, he would have stabbed him. He got within 5 feet. That's closer than you or I, with both knives raised above his head. And he's moving towards him," Prosecutor Ken Cotter said in the press conference.

Officers attempted to use a taser, but Rafael lunged at them.

"Whether it's someone being severely beaten, whether it's someone shot, whether it's someone getting stabbed with a knife, people can't try to resolve their issues with violence. Officers just like everyone else have a right to be able to protect themselves or protect other people," Cotter said.


South Bend Police issued the following statement:

Following the investigation by the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit, the South Bend Police Department will now conduct a review of training and policy.

The officers involved are on routine administrative leave per department policy with a return to duty pending that review of policy, training, and a medical clearance.

The City of South Bend issued the following statement:

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was notified this afternoon of the results of Metro Homicide’s investigation into the officer-involved shooting on Thursday, April 5. The investigation found that South Bend Police Officer James Dennin’s use of his weapon was justifiable in self-defense, based on statements by several witnesses to the incident and audio captured at the scene.

“We are very 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 lethal force in self-defense and as a last resort. I am thankful that Officer Dennin did not sustain any injuries. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident and their families.”

Now that the Metro Homicide Unit has released its findings, the South Bend Police Department will conduct an internal review to ensure that departmental policies and training were followed.


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