EPD officer involved in shooting Sunday previously involved in deadly police-involved shooting in 2016

NOW: EPD officer involved in shooting Sunday previously involved in deadly police-involved shooting in 2016

ELKHART, Ind. – Sunday at 3 a.m. Elkhart County Deputy Justin Yoder attempted to stop 27-year-old Michael Christian for an improper turn near County Roads four and nine.

Christian didn’t stop and a pursuit began with Sgt. Nathan Lanzen from Elkhart Police Department assisting Yoder.

Now Indiana State Police are investigating after both Yoder and Lanzen’s guns went off during their attempts to make an arrest.

Christian has a criminal history that dates back to 2009. Most recently, in April; he pled guilty to both strangulation and domestic battery charges and just last week he was in court for violating his probation for those charges.

Now, he faces even more charges from Sunday’s incident:

  • Disarming a law enforcement officer
  • Battery on a police officer
  • Strangulation
  • Resisting law enforcement
  • And resisting law enforcement with a vehicle

Christian led the officers to the North Lake Apartment complex where he left his car and tried to enter his apartment.

While at his front door, police said Lanzen’s handgun went off during a physical struggle with Christian.

Lanzen, who has been with EPD for ten years, has been involved in a shooting investigating before.

In 2016, Lanzen, along with another officer from Elkhart police, were investigated for a police-involved shooting that left 29-year-old Norman Gary dead and three others injured. A grand jury cleared Lanzen and the other officer of any wrongdoing, but the victim's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month. Lanzen is listed as a defendant. 

ISP said Yoder also fired his gun during the struggle with Christian Sunday.

Yoder has been with Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department for four-and-a-half years.

Online records show Yoder was honored three time in the last few years. In 2017, for outstanding character, in 2016 with a lifesaving honor, and in 2014 for his role as a 9-1-1 operator during the Martin's Supermarket shooting.

ABC57’s is continuing to look into both Sgt. Lanzen and Deputy Yoder’s background and have requested their personnel files.

ISP’s findings from Sunday’s events are only preliminary and the investigation is still ongoing.

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