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Police give update to Thursday's chase

St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office released new documents that reveal the man involved in Thursday's police chase gained access inside of Stanley Clark School. 

According to the documents, Melvin Ward III, 30, got into the school, demanded to see his child, and was "confrontational and abusive"  with the school's staff. The documents show Ward was asked to leave the school soon after he "smashed a clock."

Ward got back into his car when police arrived at the school. According to state documents, Ward approached the officer's car head-on, the officer swerved to avoid a crash. Ward made a U-turn and made another attempt to crash into the officer's car, according to the documents, Ward was not successful. 

Police say the officer took off on Miami St. and Ward followed. More officers joined the chase to try and divert Ward from going near other schools, said South Bend Chief of Police Scott Ruszkowski.

He said he was there at Main St. and Sample St., where the crash ended. 

"In my 29 years, I had never seen anything or heard anything like that," Chief Ruszkowski said. "Where literally an officer was being chased by a suspect."

Police described Ward as uncooperative and combative. A woman who said she's been friends with Ward for many years said this behavior is out of the norm for him. 

She said she was concerned for Ward's well-being after seeing posts on a Facebook page that claims to be him.  She describes Ward as a funny, genuine, caring, and kind man. 

Ward is currently at St. Joseph County Jail. The county prosecutor writes he is a danger to the community and is requesting a $150,000 bond. 

"This was beyond a volatile situation," said Chief Ruszkowski. "This was bad, this could've potentially been a lethal force situation here."

It was previously reported to ABC 57 News that Ward may have had a gun, but investigators working the case say he did not. Chief Ruszkowski said officers at the scene used their discretion before using a taser on Ward.

"I know what I saw and can just tell you had I been in a different location than what it was, I would've probably used my taser as well," said Chief Ruszkowski. 

County Prosecutor's office said formal charges will come in the middle of next week. 



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