Eyewitness to Elwood shooting says officer "did the right thing"

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - An eyewitness to the shooting on Elwood Tuesday, where an officer shot a suspect, describes what he saw. Based on his observations, he says the officer "did the right thing."

 “I was across the street when I witnessed it. He just walk up to the house like a normal officer, single car…just answering to a normal call," said an eyewitness, who didn't want to reveal his identity in light of the situation.

He said the suspect was "swinging some blows" at the officer.

The suspect has been identified as 27-year-old Terrance Eppenger, and the officer as South Bend Police Officer Samuel Chaput.

“They started from the front porch all the way and they ended up in the street...he had the officer at the bottom, and the officer tried to get him to get off of him...and that’s when I heard the gunshot," said the witness.

Right after the gun went off, he snapped a picture of the suspect on the ground.

“I noticed the guy was laying there, and the officer had his hand over his stomach or the chest cavity area to try to apply pressure to keep the blood from spilling out. To me, it’s showing that the officer still trying to save this man’s life, because the officer was still calm, trying to ask him to be calm, I’m trying to save your life. I’m trying to add pressure to your wound so that we can get you some help.” he said.

The witness says it looked like the officer was just defending himself.

“Just out of normal reaction, he had no time to look for his taser, he didn’t have time to look for pepper spray, none of that, so he just grabbed the first thing to get this guy off of him, because this guy was on top of him at this time," he said.

"I’m not no big fan of the police or nothing like that, because I got a history myself, but right is right and wrong is wrong. That officer defended himself, and I’m getting tired of some of these officers getting a bad rap for a situation that they got to handle...To me, yeah, the officer was innocent. The officer was innocent, point blank.”

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