INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A police officer fatally shot a black man in South Bend, Indiana, leading Mayor Pete Buttigieg to return home early from a presidential campaign trip to address the public and reach out to community members.
The shooting happened early Sunday after someone called police to report a suspicious person going through cars, the St. Joseph County prosecutor’s office said. A police officer confronted a man in a vehicle at an apartment building parking lot. The man exited the vehicle and approached the officer with a knife raised and the officer opened fire, it said. Authorities didn’t release the name or race of the officer.
The man, 53-year-old Eric Jack Logan of South Bend, later died at a hospital. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
Buttigieg, who is part of a crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination to run for president next year, cut short a campaign trip to New York to return to South Bend, where he will complete his second term as mayor this year.
At a news conference late Sunday, he said the circumstance of the shooting would be thoroughly investigated and he called on anyone who may have witnessed the shooting to come forward and to speak to investigators.
“We will be striving to reach out to community members,” said Buttigieg, whose campaign said he canceled plans to speak at a Democratic National Committee LGBTQ Gala in New York on Monday evening.
Logan’s wife, Shafonia Logan, told reporters after meeting with the police chief Sunday night that she had many unanswered questions about what happened to her husband of 13 years. She said her husband called her early Sunday asking her to pick him up, as he was out with friends, but she was in bed and he replied that he would walk to his mother’s house a few minutes away.
“I don’t know what happened or what they say — he was breaking into a car?” she said. “Was that justified for him to shoot and kill him about breaking in a car?”
Buttigieg has had a sometimes tense relationship with the black community dating back to his first term in office, when he fired the city’s first black police chief. He has also faced criticism for his handling of other police-involved shootings.
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He said Sunday that he was sometimes hesitant to speak publicly after police-involved shootings earlier in his time as mayor, and that he heard from the black community that he needed to be more open and transparent. He said he planned to meet Monday with faith and community leaders.
“One of the reasons we’re communicating up front right now is because of lessons learned from members of the community,” he said Sunday night.
Shafonia Logan said she never knew her husband to carry a knife or a gun and that he was afraid of police officers. She also questioned why her husband was taken to a hospital in a police car, rather than an ambulance.
She said her husband had five children from other relationships.