An Indianapolis man involved in a high-speed chase and footrace with police appeared to be live-streaming the encounter on Facebook Live when an officer fatally shot him Wednesday evening.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said officers were pursuing the man Wednesday because he was driving recklessly. After the driver exited his car, a police officer chased him on foot for a short distance, resulting in an exchange of gunfire around 6:15 p.m., authorities said. At least 13 or 14 shots are heard on the video.
Police have yet to name the driver or the officer who shot him, acknowledging only that both were black men. Family members of the victim identified him to local media outlets as Sean Reed, 21. Authorities announced that the officer who shot the young man has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.
In tears near the scene of the incident was Jazmine Reed, who identified herself in a TV interview as the victim’s sister. She told WISH that her family had watched the pursuit on Facebook and heard the shooting happen in real time. She said she drove to the scene not knowing whether her brother had survived.
“I feel like to lose a life, especially at a young age, there’s never going to be justice,” she said. “Cause he’s gone — there’s never justice for that. Even if somebody was to get time or whatever for it, it’s never going to be justice because he’s never coming back.” She added, “I shouldn’t have to bury my little brother.”
The pursuit started at 6 p.m. Wednesday, when Indianapolis Police Chief Randal Taylor and Deputy Chief Kendale Adams first noticed a gray Toyota Corolla being driven recklessly on Interstate 65, according to an incident report obtained by The Washington Post.
Police said the Indianapolis man was “driving at a high rate of speed and disobeying all traffic signals” and “almost struck other vehicles” while exiting the interstate. Chris Bailey, a police spokesman, told reporters that the man was driving about 90 mph.
For the next few minutes, multiple police cars followed the man in the northwestern part of the city, according to the incident report.
The shirtless man behind the wheel was live-streaming the chase on Facebook, titling it, “High speed chase lol.” In the latter part of the video, the man later identified as Sean Reed appeared nervous talking to the nearly 4,000 people tuning in to watch, explaining in expletives where he was and begging for help.
“Somebody come get my stupid ass,” the man said. “Please come get me! Please come get me! Please come get me!”
Police caught up to the man, so he pulled the vehicle behind a locksmith store near West 62nd Street and Michigan Road, an area featuring several churches and a school. Police said that after “disregarding the officers’ verbal commands to stop,” the driver ran out of the car.
“I’m on 62nd and Michigan,” he said before exiting the vehicle. “I just parked. … I’m gone.” He pleaded one last time: “Please come get me!”
From there, the shaky video went dark as the man, who seemingly lodged the phone in the waistband of his pants, is heard sprinting and panting in a 30-second chase by foot. A voice can be heard yelling at the man, “Stop! Stop!”
“F--- you,” the driver replied.
Initial evidence indicated that the officer confronted the man and deployed his Taser, according to the incident report. They were the only two people at the scene at the time, police said.
“It is believed at this time that shots were fired by both the officer and the suspect,” Bailey told reporters.
That’s when the man shrieked as if he were in pain and appeared to collapse to the ground.
In the eight seconds that followed, about 11 or 12 gunshots could be heard in succession. There was a brief pause before two more shots were heard. The phone continued to live-stream, facing the blue sky as the opening lyrics of rapper Young Dolph’s “16 Zips” played on the device.
Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services arrived a short time later and pronounced the driver dead at the scene. The officer was uninjured, Bailey said. Investigators told WTHR that a gun was found near the victim that did not belong to the officer.
Another recording of the video captured a conversation at the scene in the moments after the shooting, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“Looks like it’s going to be a closed casket, homey,” said one of the men off-camera. It’s unclear whether the person who made the comment was a police officer.
The Facebook Live video, which was widely shared throughout social media on Wednesday night, has since been removed from the man’s personal account. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Bailey said police were aware of the video.
“Both the officers and the detectives have done their due diligence in preserving that evidence through the proper legal channels, and if it’s associated that there’s information on there that’s appropriate for the investigation, they’ll utilize it,” he said.
Police said that the shooting is being investigated by the department and that a separate, independent internal investigation will be conducted to ensure that the officer followed departmental policy.
In the hours after the incident, 100 to 150 protesters came out in support of the driver, chanting “Murder! Murder!” and “No Justice! No Peace!” at police on the scene.
“We deserve better,” one community activist told the Star. “I am disgusted, horrified, tired and angry.”
Current scene of the IMPD officer-involved shooting near 62nd and Michigan. (For @indystar) pic.twitter.com/qHl0vzHKoJ— Jenna Watson (@JennaRWatson) May 7, 2020
Fighting through tears, Sean Reed’s family members remembered him Wednesday as a graduate of Lawrence North High School, who spent a year in the Air Force and was splitting his time between Indianapolis and North Texas. His sister told WTHR that she would hold onto his smile and how much he loved his 2-year-old niece.
She acknowledged that he was wrong getting caught up in a high-speed chase with police, but said she wondered why police couldn’t have Tased him or “beat him up” instead of taking his life.
“He could be behind bars, but now he’ll be in a casket the next time I see him,” she said.